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How to Eat for Your Best Workout Ever

August 29, 2013

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How many of us have set lofty goals for ourselves when it comes to the gym, only to give up on our goal after a few weeks with no results? I know I’ve been guilty of falling into this cycle more than once!

The truth is, in order to effectively reach the results that you desire, whether that’s to lose weight, gain weight, or even just maintain your current weight, you need to carry your discipline out of the gym with you and straight to the dinner table. 

The food that you put into your body is just as important, if not more important, than the effort that you put in at the gym. While you should be mindful of what you are eating all of the time (think whole real foods,) what you eat before and after hitting the gym is what fuels your workout and prepares you for the rest of your day. 

What to Eat Before a Workout

Before you go to your next Bikram class or lace up your sneakers for a run, make sure you eat a small meal of healthy carbohydrates about 2 hours before. Carbohydrates are quickly converted to energy that you can use during your workout. Fats and proteins take much longer to metabolize, and your body will need to devote oxygen and energy to digestion while you are working out. A good pre-workout meal could be a bowl of oatmeal, roasted rooted vegetables, or quinoa salad.

What to Eat After a Workout

You should eat about 30 to 60 minutes after you work out, as this is the only window in which your body will metabolize any carbohydrates or protein that you eat and immediately use it for fuel. Some easy on-the-go ideas for post workout snacks are apple with peanut butter, yogurt and fruit or raw almonds. Check out this article for more ideas of what to eat after you workout.  Pack your snack and bring it with you to the gym so you don’t miss your window!

Should you eat during your workout? Chances are, you don’t need to. However, if you are training for a marathon or doing back-to-back classes at the gym, you may want to have a small snack half-way through.

Do you have any favorite pre or post workout meals? 

About the author

Lauren Caster is a contributing writer to Wellness Today. She resides in Portland, Oregon where she enjoys cooking for friends, doing Bikram yoga, and exploring new restaurants and food carts in town. She is one part of the blogging duo behind the blog Brooklyn-Portland, she received her diploma in Baking and Pastry Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and is a 2013 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition