Refuel right: How to build the perfect pre and post-workout meals

Posted July 2, 2017

One of the most essential components of a solid workout routine is fueling up with the right nutrients before and after you get your sweat on. Finding yourself in a time crunch to make it to a class on time might lead you to scarf down whatever is closest to you instead of choosing wholesome foods that’ll last you the entirety of the workout. That’s where preparing pre and post-workout meals beforehand comes into play. Here are some of our favorite ideas to help you reap the benefits of your workouts through wholesome nutrition, without requiring hours in the kitchen.

Pre-Workout Meals

When choosing a pre-workout snack, make sure you don’t sell yourself short by filling up with processed, sugar-loaded, or fat-filled foods. Foods high in sugar can make your insulin skyrocket, leading to a mid-workout crash, while high-fat foods can leave you feeling sluggish.

Banana with Oatmeal, Granola, or Rice Cakes

Prepare: Pack a banana, some quick-oats, or a baggie of low-sugar granola or rice cakes in your gym bag to eat 30 minutes before exercise.

Apples with Nut Butter

Prepare: Slice an apple and store in a Tupperware along with 1-2 tablespoons of low-fat nut butter.

Protein Shake with Mixed Fruit

Protein should be the cornerstone of every nutritious diet. For active bodies, a general rule of thumb to prevent muscle deterioration and boost gains is to consume about one gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. A quick way to incorporate more of this muscle-building nutrient into your diet is to find a good protein powder, whether it’s whey, casein, veggie, or soy based.

Prepare: Before you hit the gym, you can toss a scoop of protein powder into a shaker bottle with some water or almond milk, shake it up, and sip while munching on a handful of fresh strawberries, blueberries, an apple, or melon slices 30 minutes before exercise. If you fancy a smoothie instead, toss a scoop of chocolate protein into a Nutribullet or blender with 2-4 ounces of water or almond milk, a banana, and a tablespoon of peanut butter for a chocolate peanut butter protein shake. Store the shake in a to-go cup and keep refrigerated.

Post-Workout Meals

Within the first hour after finishing training, refuel with a protein rich meal to prevent soreness from settling in. Consuming fast-digesting carbs as well during this period will also help replenish your body’s glycogen stores, preventing fatigue.

Protein Pancakes

As a diet staple for bodybuilders, there’s no shortage of protein pancake recipes online. But one of the simplest variations from Bodybuilding.com calls for four ingredients: oats, cottage cheese, egg whites, and protein powder. Simply blend up the ingredients into a batter, drop a scoop onto an oiled pan, and grill them up into pancakes. You can eat these hot or cold, with fresh fruit, or nut butter. Store in a sandwich bag or a Tupperware.

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Sweet Potato Egg Scramble

Eggs – no matter how you cook them, they’re always packed with protein, Omega fatty-acids, and Vitamins A, D, and E. They’re cheap, versatile, and one of the best building blocks for a nutritious refuel meal. Scramble some eggs up with roasted sweet potatoes, spinach, bell pepper, and top with salsa for a scrumptious hash. One of the best things about eggs, is that they are safe to eat for about four days and taste fine reheated. Toss your scramble into a Tupperware and heat it up in the microwave after your workout.

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