“Should I eat before a run? What do I eat after a weights session?”
I get questions like this from clients and readers all the time! While so much of this is relative, depending on your body’s own metabolic makeup and caloric needs, there are some general guidelines to follow so that you get the most out of your workout.
If you’re going to a spinning class or on a long run…
Before: You’ll want to take in some quality fuel about 3 hours before your activity. A combination of slow burning carbs, a little protein and a bit of good fat is ideal – think organic Greek yoghurt with berries, oats with some high quality protein powder and nuts, or a banana with almond butter.
After: Be sure to rehydrate with plenty of water, then grab a snack of carbs and some protein – think 80/20. My Power Protein Smoothie is perfect – fruit, quality protein powder and almond milk. Again, Greek yoghurt with oats berries and nuts is another great option.
If you’re taking a bootcamp or circuit class…
Before: Consider a very light snack at least an hour before. Considering you’ll probably be doing a lot of plyometrics and jumping, you don’t want to be digesting at the same time! A banana, lightly steamed veggies and nuts, coconut water, or even my healthy homemade vitamin water is the way to go.
After: Drink some H20, coconut or flavoured water, get settled, and within an hour enjoy a mix of protein and carbs. A breakfast-type meal like eggs with veggies is a good option here. Since fat isn’t as easily absorbed after this type of workout, add in your avocado and other healthy oils with your next meal.
If you’re lifting weights…
Before: A mix of concentrated protein and healthy fats is perfect. A portion of fish or meat with a handful of nuts will help you sustain good energy. But if you’ve only got a few minutes, consider a small espresso (your coffee hit for the day!), iced green tea, or half a protein shake.
After: This is the best time to eat carbs! Your glycogen stores are depleted and your muscles are looking for energy to grow strong. Protein will help repair muscle damage, so this is important too. Try brown rice cakes with banana and almond butter, eggs and smoked salmon, or a protein smoothie – try blending cacao, which has magnesium to aid muscle recovery. Win!
If you’re enjoying a well-earned (and very necessary) rest day…
I love this rule – veg, protein and fats are good every day. Protein and carbs are especially necessary post-workout. Since your body will use energy most effectively when recovering, glycogen stores must be replenished. Please tell me – what are your favorite snacks before and after you work out?
Many thanks to Libby Babet of Bottoms Up! Fitness for her wisdom on this topic.