Fitness, Nutrition

What You Should Eat Before and After a Workout

If you want to receive the most from a workout, there is a lot of preparing inolved, both before and after the workout itself. A large part of your results can depend on the diet you are holding yourself to. It plays an incredibly important role in how your body prepares and recovers from each workout you do. In order to maximize that workout and burn the fat you want to be rid of, consider these tips about what to eat before and after your next time at the gym. 

Before a Workout

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that you build up on carbs. A mix of heavy and light carbs are the best. Some of the items that you may consider consuming are whole wheat toast with sliced banana and cinnamon. The idea behind this mix of carbs is to give you a release of energy that is slow and steady throughout your entire workout. The banana is actually perfect for those who love to run as it boosts potassium levels. As runners may know, those levels of potassium are depleted whenever they sweat. The cinnamon–not only tastes amazing–but it can actually help to improve brain function and stabilize your blood sugar (Manistas, Monaco, 2018).



When you eat is important too. You should plan your meal to be around an hour or an hour and a half before your workout. This gives your stomach the chance to digest your food. While some may just eat a protein bar and then hit the gym, that can actually do more harm than good. The energy that should be used for your workout is instead diverted to digesting that food (Eastman, 2018).

In addition, for those who intend to work out for a full hour, you don’t want to consume more than 200 calories beforehand. Again, your body needs the time to digest those calories, so it can give you the energy boost instead of draining your energy during the workout. Finally, be sure that you drink enough water to be hydrated, but not too much to make yourself bloated. 12 ounces of water after your pre-workout meal is typically recommended. 

After a Workout

Although you may not feel hungry right after a workout, in time, you’re likely going to start feeling that calorie deficit. While your body may be craving certain items, be sure to maintain your discipline and consider these options instead. You’ll want to aim for carbs and protein to offer your body energy and reduce those food cravings. 

An excellent meal could be grilled chicken with mixed vegetables. Not only is this an excellent source of protein, but it won’t leave you feeling bloated afterward either. In addition, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, pasta, eggs, yogurt, salmon, avocado, tuna fish, hummus, and spinach are all excellent foods to consume after a workout. You can make quite a few different meals out of these ingredients (Semeco, 2016).

Italian Kale and White Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoe

Italian Kale and White Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoe

You should also consider what you drink. Instead of water, you may want to think about consuming whole milk. Even chocolate milk has been found to promote muscle growth. So, if you’re looking to add a bit of muscle to your frame, then set down the water jug and instead pour yourself a childhood favorite of chocolate milk. 

While fat has its problems, it isn’t technically a terrible thing to eat after a workout. It can slow down the absorption of your meal, but it won’t leave you without any of the effects that you’re trying to accumulate. 

Finally, you should consider eating a post-workout meal at around 45 minutes after your workout is complete. That is enough time for your body to finish with its burn of calories and for you to offer it a fresh and healthy boost of renewed energy sources designed for that energy boost and to promote muscle growth (Lindsey, 2018).

Different Workouts Matter 

Obviously, one workout may require a slightly different meal plan than the other. A strength-focused workout, for example, may see a focus on protein before and after a workout instead of protein and carbs. Whereas a runner may focus on low fiber and heavy carbs to keep their energy levels where they need to be for a race. By understanding how protein, carbs, fats, and other such nutrients affect your body, you can compliment your workout with the best meal plan before and after your exercise to receive maximum results (Bede, 2016).

The next time you intend to hit the gym or go for a run, take these tips into consideration. In no time, you’ll notice changes to your body that won’t be a result of starvation or poor eating choices.


Bede, P. (2016). 6 Rules for Eating Right as a Runner. [online] Runner’s World. Available at: 

Eastman, H. (2018). What Is A Proper Pre, During, And Post Workout Nutrition Diet?. [online] Available at: 

Lindsey, D. (2018). This is Actually What You Should Eat After a Workout. [online] The Everygirl. Available at: 

Manistas, A. and Monaco, E. (2018). 13 Health Benefits of Cinnamon – Functional Food Pantry Staple?. [online] Organic Authority. Available at: 

Semeco, A. (2016). Post-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat After a Workout. [online] Healthline. Available at: