How Soon Before and After a Workout Should You Eat?

Maximize Results by Eating Before and After a Workout

Many people wonder whether or not you should eat before or after a workout. The answer will vary, but ultimately, we highly recommend it! Eating before and after workouts, as well as signing up for a group fitness class at D.T.L.A. will help your body achieve greater results and reach your fitness goals. Here, we’ll discuss when to eat before and after a workout, along with food suggestions for each.

Three females doing planks together in a gym.

Eating Before a Workout

The time gap to eat before working out varies on how intense your workout is, and how long it will last. That being said, the general rule of thumb is roughly one to four hours before exercising. Eating carbohydrates before working out increases your blood sugar and fuels your muscles. It’s important to note that how you feel during the workout will differ from person to person, so it’s best to experiment lightly with different time frames to determine what works best for you.

Peanut butter and sliced bananas on rice cakes with black background.

What to Eat Before a Workout

Carbs are the best thing you could eat before a workout. This will give you an adequate supply of energy to push through the workout. As always, it’s important to also stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout. Drink plenty of water or drink orange juice for some extra vitamins and nutrition. Some healthy pre-workout meal options include:

  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich

  • Greek yogurt with berries

  • Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit

  • Handful of nuts and raisins (two parts raisins to one part nuts)

  • Bananas

  • Toast or Rice Cakes (with peanut butter and bananas or side of fruit)

Group of people lifting knees in a fitness glass.

Post-Workout Nutrition

Eat within an hour of finishing a workout. This window to eat after your workout is crucial to regaining muscle strength and overall energy. If you exercise for less than an hour, you can eat closer to the 60-minute mark afterwards. If your workout lasts an hour or longer, it’s important for you to eat within 15-30 minutes. For longer workouts that are especially intensive, it’s recommended to snack every 30 minutes on fruit or nuts to sustain yourself and generate even better results.

Two pre-portioned meals with mixed veggies, rice, boiled egg, and chicken in tupperware.

What to Eat After Your Workout

Much like before your workout, you should eat plenty of carbs afterwards along with protein. This combination will give your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost during exercising. A few great meal options to eat after a workout include:

  • Scrambled eggs on a whole wheat tortilla

  • Chicken breast, veggies and brown rice

  • Whole grain turkey wrap

  • Salmon with a sweet potato

  • Tuna and rice

Eating before and after your workouts can lead to better performance during your workout and improve results afterwards, whether that’s weight loss or muscle gain. It’s important to nourish your body before, during, and after exercising to sustain energy. Group fitness classes at D.T.L.A. can help you establish an effective workout routine guaranteed to generate results. Contact us today to get started.

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