When it comes to getting healthy, you probably already know that nutrition is just as important as exercise but did you also know your body requires different types of fuel for different types of movement? What you eat before and after your run, Pilates class, or strength training session can either fuel or sabotage your success. And no one wants their hard work to go to waste! Read on to discover why timing is everything when it comes to fueling your workouts and what you should eat before and after each type of workout.
Why Timing Is Everything With Fueling Your Workouts
You don’t want your stomach growling during exercise, but you don’t want to feel like you just ate Thanksgiving dinner either. Ideally, you want to fuel your body with healthy, nutritious foods that are no longer hanging out in your stomach when it’s time to work out. A high carbohydrate, low-fat snack is ideal for most pre-workout snacks because it can easily be digested, plus it regulates your blood sugar.
As far as post-workout snacks go, the 60 minutes after you finish a workout is the perfect time to refuel with a combination of protein and carbs. That winning combo is what helps speed up your recovery time and replenishes your glycogen stores.
A quick note: if you finish up your workout and it’s time for a main meal like lunch or dinner, go ahead and just eat that (no need to double up on a snack!)
Also, listen to your body. If you only workout for 20 minutes, you likely don’t need to bookend it with snacks on either side. The main goal is this: don’t go into any workout starving, but don’t feel the need to double up on meals before an intense class. Use tips to guide you in terms of what snacks are best for before and after each workout, and if you’re not hungry or just ate, no need to eat again before your workout. Make sense? Let’s move on to the best things you can eat before and after every type of workout, from running to Pilates and everything in between!
If you’re going for a twenty-minute jog, you don’t necessarily need a pre-run snack, but a long-distance jaunt over 45 minutes merits some fuel about an hour before you hit the pavement. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker and it’s morning, you can also have a cup of coffee or tea during that timeframe, too. Be sure to recover after your run with a combination of protein and carbs. Here are some examples:
- Avocado toast
- Whole grain bagel topped with banana and peanut butter
- Healthy granola bar or energy bar
- Cottage cheese with fruit
- Chocolate milk. (Believe it or not, chocolate milk is beloved by long-distance runners logging serious miles. Why? It contains B vitamins in addition to protein and carbs)