These questions gets asked a lot: “What should I eat before I work out?” and “What should I eat after I work out?”
I was going to dive into all my thoughts on this subject matter, but then I got an email from a respected source that talks about this subject in a more scientific way.
I will share a few thoughts though:
First, it kind of depends on what time of day you’re working out.
I work out in the wee hours of the morning, but I don’t want to get up an hour before to eat a complete breakfast! My stomach wouldn’t do well on that anyway. I like to eat half a piece to a whole piece of whole wheat bread, half a banana, or even a Lara Bar. Not all of these. Just one of them. I also drink about 24 ounces of water right when I get up.
If you work out in the morning like I do, you might find that you’re either starving or not hungry at all. And depending on what kind of exercise you engage in, you may be just fine not eating anything. I like to eat something prior just to assure I have enough energy to get through my intense workouts.
I honestly feel that what you eat AFTER you work out is much more important in respect to you goals than what you eat before you work out. Although, what you eat beforehand can really alter your workout. You want to make sure you have enough energy to sustain you throughout your workout.
Your pre workout meal could be your breakfast if you work out around 9ish. Oatmeal with peanut butter and bananas. Bam. Or Scrambled eggs with sautéed veggies. Just make sure your pre workout meal isn’t going to bog you down. This might take some experimentation.
Those of you that work out later in the day, your pre workout meal could possibly be your lunch or your dinner!
In regard to post workout nutrition, I strongly believe that getting a good source of protein afterwards and a complex carb is a great way to fuel up. Your post workout nutrition should help you replenish your energy and help in protein synthesis so make sure you’re getting a good source of protein in afterwards.
For me, if I’m to eat starchy carbs, this is when I get them. I teach this to my clients as well. I teach that you have to EARN your starchy carbs by exercising. This is when you would eat your rice, pastas, breads, oatmeal, etc.
What have you found works for you? What do you like to eat before you work out? What do you eat afterwards?