Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pre and Post-Workout Food Ideas

My Pre-Workout Meal: Low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries,
 carrots and celery = 225 calories and 20 g of protein
Photo Credit: Jenny 

Pre-Workout Foods 
I would definitely recommend eating before working out, whether or not it is 3-4 hours before or 1 hour before. If I do not eat before working out, halfway through my routine I feel fatigued and dizzy. I used to do 45-50 minutes of elliptical in the mornings sometimes, and just get up and go without eating. I do not know even how I did that back then.

How much you eat and the kinds of food you consume before a workout depends on if you are training to gain muscle mass, or just fueling for a moderate-medium hard cardio workout. If you are going to workout intensely, aim for more carbohydrates because you want that feeling of feeling full, as well as the benefits of being able to powder through a difficult workout. Carbs also are known to help perform high-intensity exercises better because they offer sugar that is used to produced energy or ATP [1]. Your body still uses fats and proteins, but they take much longer for your body to actually process. So stay away from fats as much as possible because your body takes a very long time to digest them.

What time should I eat before my workout? 
Eat more if you are going to workout in 4-5 hours. Eat less if you are going to workout in 1-2 hours. I would suggest 300-400 calories if you are going to workout in 2-3 hours. If you are going to workout in 1-2 hours, eat 150-200 calories and aim for half carbs and protein.

Here are some pre-workout food ideas. The foods listed below always provide me with enough energy to get through a workout. Remember to drink water before and throughout your workout.
  • Oatmeal with protein such as yogurt or cottage cheese with some fruit 
  • Cereal with milk and berries
  • 1/2 bagel with cream cheese 
  • Burrito (rice, chicken and veggies) 
  • Cheese and crackers 
  • Peanut butter, banana and toast 
  • Peanut butter and banana smoothie/protein shake
  • Peanut butter and apples
  • Carrot sticks and hummus 
  • Corn and protein 
  • Eggs: hardboiled, softboiled, poached with toast, oatmeal or crackers
  • Omelettes - check out The Sweet Tomato for a recipe on how to make an omelette 
  • Chocolate milk 
  • 2 cups of fruit 
  • All protein shakes 
  • All protein bars
  • A full meal such as pasta, pizza, rice and protein, burger, chili, veggies and protein with bread, sandwiches, sweet potato and protein (these all should be eaten about 3-4 hours before working out) 
Post-Workout Recovery Foods 
You gotta eat your protein, protein, protein but watch those calories. You do not want to eat more than what you just worked to burn off. Whether it's a protein shake, bar or some chicken, your muscles need to recover, so you do need to eat. I always try to drink a protein shake or get some protein into my system after a workout. I also add some fruits or vegetables with my snack or meal.  Aim for at least 20 grams of protein (for a 5 foot 1 woman)  if you did an extremely intense workout.

Here are some meal and snack ideas. You will notice that these are pretty much the same as the pre-workout foods, but contain less carbs.
  • Turkey and cheese with apple slices 
  • Choice of protein with veggies and fruit 
  • String cheese with apple slices
  •  Peanut butter and apples 
  • Peanut butter and whole wheat toast or crackers  
  • Peanut butter, banana and whole wheat toast or crackers
  • Greek yogurt and berries 
  • Tuna and whole wheat crackers or toast 
  • 3 oz of chicken, turkey, pork or beef with 1/2 cup of brown rice and veggies or fruit
  • 1/3 cup of oatmeal with non-fat greek yogurt 
  • Chocolate milk (low-fat) 
  • Coconut milk 
  • 2 hard boiled eggs with carrots and apples
  • Beef jerky and fruit or veggies 
  • Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, cashews or walnuts 
  • Lentils 
  • Wheat germ, quinoa, flax seed, chia seeds with something else 
  • 2 hard boiled eggs with carrots and apples
  • Eggs: hard boiled eggs, omelets, poached eggs, sunny side up eggs, over easy 
  • Rice cakes with peanut butter and banana 
  • Cottage cheese 
  • Low-fat pizza 
  • Sweet potato and choice of protein 
  • Tofu 
  • Edamame beans 
  • Hummus (hummus doesn't have very much should you should combine it with higher protein choices)
  • Fish: salmon, tilapia, walleye 
  • Protein bars: Quest, Pure Protein, Think Thin, Kind, Lara Bar 
  • Protein shakes: Click here to go to the meal plan page to learn more about some great combinations! 

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