What to Eat Before and After Your Workout


Confused about what and when to eat fits into your regular exercise plan? Here are the basis of fueling your workout.


Before Exercise

Research has shown that eating something before exercise is better than nothing at all
• It will enhance stamina and endurance
• It will provide carbs to refuel your muscles, liver glycogen stores, and blood sugar.             Carbohydrates are the key to giving you the energy to work out hard.
• It will provide protein (in the form of amino acids) to protect your muscles.

After Exercise

•Carbohydrates will replenish your glycogen stores (i.e. “refill your gas tank”).
•Protein will repair damaged muscle fibers and may also reduce muscle soreness.
• Calories, in general, will reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, which can break down         muscle.


Before Exercise
The amount of food one can tolerate in their stomach before exercise varies from person to person. This may take some experimentation on your part. However, it’s best to have a meal 2-4 hours before your workout and/or a snack 30 minutes to an hour before your workout.

After Exercise
Eat protein with some carbohydrates within 45 minutes of completing your exercise.


Before Exercise

Meal (2-4 hours before)

  1. 4 oz turkey breast
    1-2 cups non starchy vegetables
    1/2 to 1 cup brown rice or quinoa
  2. 20/20 Lifestyles High Protein Shake with 1/2 cup berries and 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  3. 1/2 to 3/4 cup egg whites (about 6 egg whites)
    1 oz low fat shredded cheese
    1 slice whole grain toast
    1/2 cup of berries
  4. 1 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt
    1 medium-sized banana, sliced
    1 oz walnuts
    Sprinkle of cinnamon

Snack (up to 1 hour before)

  1. 1 cup cottage cheese and 1 Cascade Fresh yogurt
  2. 1 slice whole grain toast with 1 oz low fat cheese
  3. 1/2 to 1 serving 20/20 Lifestyles Protein Bar
  4. 1 apple and 1 Tbsp peanut butter

After Exercise 

Protein choices:

  1. 20/20 Lifestyles High Protein Shake or Protein Bar (this will provide balance for both protein and carbs)
  2. 1 or 2 sting cheese sticks
  3. 2 hard-boiled egg whites
  4. 1 oz sliced deli turkey
  5. 1/2-1 cup low fat cottage cheese
  6. Nonfat flavored Greek style yogurt

Carbohydrates choices:

  1. 1 small apple
  2. 1/2 cup strawberries
  3. 1/3 whole grain granola bar
  4. 1 slice whole grain bread
  5. 1/2 cup pineapple or sliced peaches

The ideal ratio is to have at least 7 grams of protein for every 15 grams of carbohydrates. Even better would be 1:1 gram ration with protein to carbs.

Originally from PRO Pulse May-June 2011
By Monica Jacobson

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