You should never exercise on an empty stomach, and sometimes it’s difficult to decide what to eat pre- and post-workout. Fear not, What the Health has broken down the best foods to eat when exercising.
Before You Workout
- Bananas are an excellent food to eat before you work out. They have fast-acting carbohydrates that provide you with fuel during your entire workout. The potassium in bananas also helps prevent muscle cramps mid-workout. There is nothing worse than getting a stomach cramp while running on the treadmill!
- Another great food to eat before you head to the gym are oats. They can be in the form of oatmeal, granola, or combined with other ingredients for fun oat recipes. Oats are loaded with fiber which help release carbohydrates into your bloodstream, providing fuel to last you throughout your entire workout.
- Surprisingly, caffeine can be an effective pre-workout food. Caffeine can work to slow muscle fatigue and increase how much fat you burn.
- Fruit smoothies are an excellent way to get ready for a workout. They are high in protein, can be digested very quickly, and contain both simple and complex carbohydrates. The simple carbohydrates will activate in the first 15 or 20 minutes of your workout, and then the complex carbohydrates will kick in around the 30-minute mark.
- Chickpeas have 10 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs, and about 9 grams of fiber to help make your work out easy peasy (pun intended).
- Unlike egg yolks, egg whites provide you with no fat and 4 grams of protein. The yolk of the egg contains lots of fat, and is metabolized slowly so it will make you feel sluggish. Ditch the egg yolk and just stick with the egg white!
- Greek yogurt is a great alternative to regular yogurt because it contains less sugar but more protein.
After you Workout
- Avocados are a great post-workout food because they have good fat, not bad fat. This good fat helps repair muscles after a workout. Avocadoes also are high in Vitamin B, which speed up your metabolism.
- Instead of water after a tough workout, try chocolate milk. Chocolate milk helps restore muscle glycogen and rehydrates you just as much as Gatorade. It is high in carbs and protein, and you will also be getting calcium—added bonus!
- Another drink to try once you get home from the gym is green tea. Green tea can give you a much-needed energy boost after the gym and also has great fat-burning compounds.
- Quinoa is the best way to get your carbs, and a great alternative to brown rice. It has more protein and fiber than brown rice, and is also so much easier and quicker to prepare!
- A great fish to try after you work out is salmon. It is high in protein and also omega-3 fatty acids, which help to rebuild muscle post-workout.
- One of the best fruits to eat after a workout is kiwi. Kiwi contains lots of vitamin C and potassium packed into one small serving. They also contain antioxidants, which help reduce muscle soreness. Another tip to make the most out of your kiwi: eat the skin! It has more nutrients.
- Another helpful fruit to eat after you work out are blueberries. They are packed full of antioxidants, and studies show that they can trip your rate of recovery after a hard workout!
By Annie Kelly