Before you lace up your sneakers or update your workout playlist, you may want to stop for a moment and consider your pre- and post-workout eating options. Breakfast isn’t the only important meal of the day — what you put into your body on either side of your workout can enhance results.
For registered dietitian and nutritionist Christine Rosenbloom, balance is key. You can’t run on empty during your workout, and you can’t constantly seek the “reward” of a high-fat or high-calorie food and expect to reap results. A pre-workout meal or snack revs up your body for exercise, and it is best to opt for something that will sit well in your stomach.
A post-workout meal or snack is equally crucial because it helps to reboot the body’s fuel sources and restore drained muscles. Carbohydrates that are easily digested are the best option, clinical nutritionist Parachi Baxi explains, because they fill up empty muscle glycogen stores, and then good proteins can help build lean muscle mass. The Mayo Clinic recommends pairing carbohydrates and protein for a post-workout meal or snack within two hours of exercising to maximize benefits.
Here’s a list of five foods to eat before and the five to choose after your workout to maximize your health.