Taste and Train

Best Pre & Post workout Snacks

Posted: June 29, 2014
healthy snacks

Just as one workout builds upon the next, each meal and snack impacts the next workout as well. There are three key aspects to remember when trying to maximize the benefits of each workout: hydration, fueling and recovery.

The importance of adequate hydration cannot be over-emphasized. Without proper hydration, blood becomes thicker, increasing the workload on the heart. Oxygen and nutrients are not delivered to the muscles in a timely manner and waste product like carbon dioxide is not eliminated efficiently. This results in reduced muscle contraction, thus increasing energy expenditure and reducing endurance during physical activity.

The next two steps involve consuming the right snacks for fueling the workout and ensuring quick recovery. Pre and post workout snacks depend on the type of physical activity being performed. For strength training (incl. weights, resistance bands, TRX) our body needs carbs to fuel the workout and proteins to help the muscles recover after the exercise. For strength training, look for snacks like an energy bar, a fruit and yogurt smoothie, or chicken sandwich at least 45 minutes before the workout.

If you are going for a cardio workout, duration of the workout is crucial. For workouts that are under an hour, you don’t necessarily need a pre workout snack provided you are consuming a balanced diet with carbohydrate rich foods like whole grains, legumes and fruits. The glycogen stores in the body would be able to easily fuel the workout. However if the cardio workout is an hour or longer, eat a 100 – 200 calorie carb rich snack 45 minutes before the workout. Options include a fruit smoothie, banana or apple with peanut butter, or a granola bar.

Post workout snack are also very important. After a strength training workout, try and consume at least 10 – 20 gms of proteins within half an hour of exercise to help the muscles recover faster. Here again protein shakes made with fruits and vegetables are my favorite. Other options include lean protein sandwich, eggs or protein bars. After a cardio workout, carb rich foods can help replenish the lost glycogen levels in the body. Lastly, be sure to consume water before, during and after exercise to keep the body hydrated. If you sweat a lot during exercise, you may consider consuming a sports drink to replace the electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium) lost during the workout. Alternatively eating mineral rich foods (like green vegetables, bananas, maca, sea vegetables and tomatoes) throughout the day can help maintain hydration and electrolyte levels.

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