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Your Guide to Eating and Exercising: What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Eating healthy, nutritious meals is an essential part of reaching and achieving your fitness goals. Your food choices can impact your weight, muscular development, energy levels, and much more. However, many of us struggle to know when and what to eat. If you’ve got a lot on your plate, you may even forget to eat, which can make working out much harder. While there is a lot to say on the topic of eating and exercising, I want to focus on when, why, and what to eat before and after working out, whether you like to exercise in the morning, on your lunch break, or at the end of the day. 

Eating and Exercising: When & Why to Eat Before or After a Workout?

There are benefits to eating before and after exercising. However, how you fuel your body will depend on your daily schedule and when you last ate. It’s best to wait 2-3 hours after eating a big meal to exercise or 1 hour after you have a snack to ensure your body can digest the food completely. With that in mind, here are a few reasons you should eat before or after exercising.

Why Eat Before a Workout?

Eating before a workout gives your body the energy it needs to power through your session. This is especially important if you like to exercise in the morning. Eating before a workout will help you avoid getting lightheaded, dizzy, or tired during it. While you don’t need to have a big meal, even a small snack can provide your body with the fuel it needs to get you through your workout.

Why Eat After a Workout?

After a workout, your body is working hard to repair any damage to your muscles and rebuild them stronger than before. This process requires a lot of energy, so it’s essential to eat to give your body the fuel it needs. Additionally, eating after a workout helps reduce inflammation and improve recovery time. When you exercise, your muscles produce toxins that can cause inflammation. Eating helps flush these toxins out of your system and reduces the risk of soreness and injury.

Eating and Exercising: What to Eat Before or After a Workout?

The “what” of eating and exercising is just as important as the when and why. Whether you want to know what to eat before working out in the morning or the best post-workout snacks, I’m sharing some of my favorite meals that fuel my workouts. Be sure to click each link for the ingredients and instructions!

Pre-workout Meals and Snacks

If you’re having a meal 2-3 hours before you exercise:

If you’re having a snack 1 hour before you exercise:

Post-workout Meals and Snacks

If you’re having a meal after you exercise:

If you’re having a snack after you exercise:

More Quick & Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas

Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods for Your Pre and Post-Workout Meals and Snacks

As you consider what to eat before working out in the morning or making a post-workout snack, choose meals high in protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Here’s why: 

  • Protein: Increases muscle mass and strength, improves bone health, boosts your metabolism, and helps your body burn fat
  • Carbohydrates: Prevent weight gain, promote weight loss, increase energy levels, and boost your mood
  • “Healthy” Fats: improve nutrient absorption (vitamins A, D, E, and K), enhance cell growth, increase energy, and help your immune system

The Best Approach to Eating and Exercising is Personal

There’s no one right answer when it comes to the best approach to eating and exercising. Some people find they have more energy and feel stronger if they eat an hour before working out, while others prefer to eat a large meal after their workout. And some people like to do both! Ultimately, the best approach is the one that makes your body feel most energized and healthy. 

If you’re not sure what that is, experiment a little bit and see what works best for you. You might be surprised at how different you feel after making minor changes to your routine. You’ll figure out what is good to eat after a workout, according to your body and whether eating before or after a workout is best. Remember to listen to your body and trust your gut (literally)!

You Know What to Eat, but What Exercises Should You Do?

We’ve covered some pre and post-workout snacks. Now you might be wondering what exercises you should do in between eating your nutritious meals. That’s where the Fit CrewApp comes in! The Fit Crew App is designed to help busy women build strong, toned, confident bodies at home on their schedules. It includes weekly workout plans, LIVE classes, and a personal trainer in your pocket to provide tips, advice, and guidance on your fitness journey. Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, increase your energy, or just feel better, the Fit Crew App will work for you! So what are you waiting for? Try the Fit Crew App FREE for 7 days!

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