Should I Eat Before or After My Workout?

February 28th, 2019

Diet and exercise can be SO confusing!  Some people say you shouldn’t eat before a workout, some people say you should.  The same debate goes for eating after a workout, and it’s enough to make your head spin!  At Driven + Sponaugle Wellness, we believe that diet is a key component to your health and fitness journey and that when you eat is just as important as what you eat.  So this brings us back to the question, “Should I eat before or after my workout?”  Our answer….both!!! Here’s why…

Benefits of Eating Before a Workout

Eating before a workout helps fuel your muscles so they will perform at their best. To prevent indigestion while working out, you should eat a meal three to four hours before exercising. Keep in mind: this may be an expirimental timeframe at first as everyone’s body is different. You may find that your body can handle food intake in as little as 30-45 minutes before your workout.

To ensure adequate fueling, be sure to include a variety of nutrient dense, fortified foods.

If you exercise early in the morning and can’t stomach a large meal, a pre-workout snack will work as well.  Your snack should be easy to digest, low-fat, and small in size. A fruit smoothie with a tablespoon of nut butter or a meal replacement shake are great options.  Not only are they great for fueling muscles, they’re hydrating as well.

Benefits of Eating After a Workout

Did you know that muscle building is at its peak during the 30-minute window that follows exercise? So it stands to reason that one of the most important times to eat is within an hour after your workout.  

This isn’t the time to undo the benefits of your great workout and ‘reward’ yourself with large meal, sugary treats, or even a drink with your workout buddies. To fully reap the benefits of your post-workout meal, it should include a carbohydrate, a protein, vegetables, and a fat.  Not only is this well-balanced meal great for replenishing energy and preserving muscle mass, it’s nutrient-packed and good for overall health as well.

Not that hungry after your workout?  A light snack will work too. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a glass of low-fat chocolate milk is a perfect post-exercise snack as is half a turkey sandwich, avocado wheat toast, or whole-grain crackers with hummus. But with sheer number of diets out there, what is good for one person may not be the best for you.

For other suggestions on what you should eat before and after a workout, click here.  If you are interested in the Driven Fit health and fitness experience, please give us a call or text (813) 440-3016 for a free evaluation!

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