I’m a certified health and nutrition coach with an obsession for croissants and muffins and a passion for helping Brides-to-be, MOBs, and Bridesmaids feel beautiful and confident on the special day they're a part of.
Do I need to eat protein before a workout? What about carbs? How much should I eat? What about protein after my workout?
These are all totally valid questions. There are many sources that might tell you different things to do. It can make deciding what to eat confusing. I’m going to share what has worked best for me in terms of pre and post-workout meals!
The right foods before and after your workouts can help boost your results. Just like a car uses gas, your body uses glucose from carbohydrates for fuel. Carbs give your body energy to power through your workouts. Refueling after a workout with a combo of protein, fat, and complex carbs can help rebuild muscle.
I want to make sure you’re fueling your body properly before and after your workouts so you get the most out of them. I’m not a nutritionist, but I have a few pointers that have worked for me over the years of training.
What you eat before and after your workouts and when you eat can make a big difference in your performance. It affects your energy, recovery, and digestion (there’s nothing worse than your stomach feeling too full and uncomfortable when you’re trying to get a workout in!).
I like to give myself plenty of time to digest before my workouts and I always refuel within 30 minutes of my workout.
Take some time to find a routine that works for your body — remember, everybody processes food differently so do what makes you feel best.
Here are some of my suggestions-
If you’re working out first thing in the morning:
Have a small snack 30-40 minutes before your workout. I like to have a banana, a cup of berries, a protein bar, or greek yogurt.
If you work out super early like me, you can try a fasted workout, which is simply working out on an empty stomach (though I would not recommend it if you have blood sugar issues). I almost always run on an empty stomach; it’s just what feels best for my body. I just make sure I drink plenty of water before, during, and after my workout.
Make sure to hydrate before your workout (you’ll hear me say this a lot). In the morning, I drink at least one cup of water when I wake up and I hydrate throughout my workout. The goal is to minimize dehydration, which can cause low energy and muscle cramps.
If you’re working out later in the morning or mid-day:
Have a meal at least 2-3 hours before your workout. I like having a combination of protein and some complex carbs. I drink about two cups of water 2-3 hours before exercise and one cup of water 15 minutes before working out.
Here are some of my favorite pre-workout meals and snacks:
Green protein smoothie
Greek yogurt with fruit
Apple with almond butter
Oatmeal with fruit
If you’re working out in the afternoon or evening:
If I work out in the afternoon, I like to eat a full meal at least 3-4 hours before my workout and I make sure to properly hydrate (as always). Here are my go-tos:
Whole-wheat toast with a sliced banana and some cinnamon
Mixed greens salad with fruit
Fruit smoothie with protein
Scrambled eggs and a protein waffle (I love having breakfast food for lunch)
I also have some go-to snacks on hand if I’m feeling hungry or need an extra boost 30 minutes before:
Fresh fruit (love bananas and strawberries!)
After you crush your workout:
Be sure to make hydration a priority! Restoring water and minerals lost during a workout is vital for the body’s recovery. I refuel with a balanced meal of protein, fat, and complex carbs within 30 minutes of my workout. My daily post-workout meal is a smoothie with frozen strawberries, frozen riced cauliflower, a banana, protein powder, almond milk, coconut oil, and almond butter. Soooo delicious!
Here are some more ideas:
Omelet with veggies and avocado
Quinoa bowl with blueberries
Whole-wheat toast with a sliced banana and peanut butter
Scrambled eggs and whole-wheat toast
Greek yogurt and fruit
Smoothie with greens and protein
Properly fueling your body is going to help you feel even stronger and more powerful in your workouts! Remember: These pre-and post-workout snack ideas are only suggestions. Everyone’s body is different and will have specific needs and preferences. Now go enjoy your workout!
If you want daily workout ideas, make sure to follow me on Instagram where I share daily exercises in my stories!
Stephanie began her fitness journey of training women in 2014 as a yoga teacher. As a certified personal trainer and certified health coach, she has since grown her bridal fitness programs for women internationally. Stephanie works with brides and helps them look and feel their best for their big day. Her programs are accessible through her app, from fitness to nutrition, all for brides-to-be! Ready to feel confident in your wedding dress? Get the free Bridal Arms Mini Guide!
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