What to Eat Pre- and Post- Workout
Have you ever felt nauseous during a workout? Have you worked out and felt tired or didn’t feel like you had the energy to perform like you wanted? Does your body take a long time to recover? I’ve been asking myself these kinds of questions lately.
My routine usually (I use that term lightly since my routine is always changing) consists of morning exercise (yoga at home or a run/walk) and breakfast, then I am off to work. Work is only broken up with my midday lunch, and then before I know it I am heading home to take of my 13-year-old puppy. If I have time after that, I try to fit in a yoga class or if that doesn’t work out I go for another run/walk. After that I am in the kitchen making dinner. Sounds simple enough right? Well, this schedule often leaves me feeling tired or extremely hungry and not feeling up to good exercise.
Trying to remedy this situation, I decided to follow in the footsteps of my friends and started by looking at what I eat. Recently, I started eating healthier foods with fewer processed ingredients and cooking more at home. This helped a little, but now that I am more serious about really living healthier, I want to make sure that what I consume can help me during my workouts as well.
To help find ways to add nutritional value to what I eat I started researching what to eat pre- and post- workout. I stumbled upon this infographic from Greatist that breaks down what to eat and when to eat it depending on your workout. The infographic is very detailed and a little confusing so I used some of the information to develop my own pre- and post- workout meal plan tailored to when I run or when I practice yoga.
So far after using my plan I am more energized during my workouts and have been able to push myself more during them. Also recovery time from my workouts has improved.
Running: I drink a small cup (around 10-12 oz) of water that I have sitting next to my bed to help wake me up. I try to drink this before I get out of bed so it has time to settle and so my stomach doesn’t feel like it is sloshing about during the run. This not only helps wake me up, but also keeps me hydrated.
Yoga: I don’t eat anything before my morning yoga, one because I would have to wake up earlier to do that, two having it sit in my stomach while I twist is not comfortable, and three I don’t want to cool down my body before yoga (in vinyasa flow yoga you try to build heat to help with more flexibility).
Post- Morning Workout
Running: After stretching and cooling down I try to drink a full container of water (32 oz). My body is still trying to cool down so the water helps cool and rehydrate me. I also try to get in my light breakfast if I have time. This usually consists of a smoothie that contains protein powder or spinach and goat cheese on bread (more quick and easy convenient breakfast options coming soon).
Yoga: The same goes for my post yoga routine. I drink enough water so that my body feels rehydrated, trying to drink all 32 oz of water in my water bottle. Then I usually consume my smoothie for breakfast.
Pre- Afternoon Workout
Running: Usually I run when I get home from work which is about 5:30 p.m. Knowing that, I try to consume a healthy meal for lunch (usually leftovers from last night’s dinner), but then around 3 p.m. I eat a snack. This snack is varied, but mainly consists of almonds, veggies and hummus, or pears and brie. If the weather is warm, I try to make sure that I am drinking lots of water throughout the day, but stop drinking water 30-45 minutes before I run.
Yoga: Since I don’t want too much going on in my stomach for an afternoon/evening yoga class I usually just stick to a smoothie that I consume around 3 p.m. as well. I also try to get in as much water during this time so that I am not cramping up in class. Nothing hurts more than having my toes cramp up when I am trying to stay rooted in my Warrior 2 pose. I usually stop drinking water an hour and a half before class so my stomach isn’t sloshing about.
Post- Afternoon Workout
Running: After my runs is when I am preparing for dinner. To help me not gorge on dinner I make it a point to eat fruit and drink plenty of water. The fruit helps hold me over until dinner, while the water helps rehydrate me. This is when I drink the most water to be honest. I usually go through my 32 oz water bottle and then drink half of the refill.
Yoga: Feeling rejuvenated after my yoga class, I usually like to wait a few minutes before I drink something like water or tea. The best thing I have ever had after a good yoga workshop that lasted a few hours was some delicious chai tea. It was calming, but didn’t keep me up all night. I also try to eat a little something so I am not starving when dinner is ready (aka munch on the preparation ingredients), so I make myself eat a banana or some pretzels that I like to dip in peanut butter or hummus.
So pretty much my pre- workout meals consists of water – stopping at a certain time before working out – and food items that consists of ingredients that have protein for yoga and carbohydrates for running. The most important part is to remember to eat them no later than an hour or more before you work out.
For my post- workout meals my most important thing is to rehydrate, so make sure the liquid you are consuming will help you do that. To help with recovery, I try to eat something with a good amount of protein. It helps my body replenish its glycogen storage and prevents muscle soreness.
What type of food do you consume before your workout of choice?