When (and How) to Fuel Your Workouts
Let’s start off by saying that the choice to eat before or after your workout is different for everyone. If you like to workout or stream in the early morning, I don’t find it absolutely necessary to eat first unless you’re actually hungry. It is OK to workout on an empty stomach, and there are even some proven benefits of doing this! If you’re more of a midday person, then certainly have your lunch and give yourself at least one hour to digest (preferably two hours to minimize potential cramping). For all you evening exercisers out there, a lighter snack will tide you over if needed.
In any case, you want to avoid the extremes. Working out when you’re full can lead to improper digestion and keeps you from putting your best efforts into your workout. Conversely, working out when you’re starving can lead to overeating afterwards. It’s all about listening to your body’s signals and providing it with proper nutrients in order to keep your energy levels stable.
My biggest tip would be to steer clear of any pre-made snacks, smoothies or juices from the gym, as these tend to be loaded up with sugars and preservatives and all of your hard work will go right out the window! If you know you’re someone who needs a light snack, simply be prepared! And as always, remember to drink water before, during and after a session.
I like to eat 45 mins - 2 hours before a workout. This way we are not digesting food the second we get to work, but our body is still holding on to those nutrients for fuel. Some of my go-to options are:
- A piece of fruit- I personally love pears, kiwis, & grapefruit
- Yogurt- Greek or non-diary (avoid kinds with added sugars/syrups and add a few berries or honey for flavor if needed)
- Egg white omelet with spinach and tomatoes
- Half an avocado
- Bars – be careful here, as many brands contain high amounts of sugar, sodium, and carbs. Avoid any bars with added sugars or processed ingredients and stick to more natural varieties. I personally prefer Macro Bars, or making them at home!
- Juice or Smoothie- limit to 1-2 pieces of fruit and if you like protein powder use only plant based (if you’re working out super early, I might suggest drinking half before the workout and half after!)
I like to eat 30 mins - 2 hours after a workout. Again, this depends on time of day and schedule, but my favorites are:
- Grilled chicken or salmon (ditch the salt and sauce and use fresh herbs for flavor)
- Healthy carbs- quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice
- Egg white veggie omelet
- Veggies – asparagus is great to keep the skin tight but also feeding your body nutrients and minerals
How are YOU fueling your body? Share your favorites in the comments below, and we’ll let you know if they are P-approved!