Best Practices for Planning Pre-Workout vs. Post-Workout Meals and Snacks
From weight lifting to spin classes and everything in between, there are hundreds of workouts that exist based on an individual’s interests and abilities. However, what remains constant is the need for proper pre-and-post workout meals and snacks that will set an individual up for optimal refuel and recovery. Given the nature of the workout, the specifics may vary slightly, but overall, following the guidelines below will help get you started on being able to approach meals and snack times with your workout in mind.
Heading into an exercise session, one of the most important components of our diet is carbohydrates! Carbs lay the foundation of our body’s energy supply that gets us through our workout, even when we may feel too exhausted to continue. For our body to perform at its best, it is highly recommended to include a source of carbohydrates at your pre-workout meal or snack. If you have you ever felt lightheaded halfway through your workout and suddenly heard your stomach grumble, it certainly could be a lack of sufficient carbohydrates to fuel you up in preparation for your workout. Eating about 1-3 hours prior to exercise will give you a nice window of time to digest your meal and prepare your body to burn calories.
Protein, fats, and fiber are also an important component of our meals yet require some strategic planning about when to have them. If your meal is further away from your workout, protein, fat, and fiber can be on the higher end, alongside carbs so that your body stays full and has plenty of time to digest all of your nutrients. Conversely, if you are having a quick pre-workout snack about 60-minutes prior to hitting the gym, aim to have a moderate amount of protein, fats, and fiber with your carbs to prevent slowing down digestion and interfering with carbohydrate absorption.
Some examples of light pre-workout snacks that you can grab before the gym include
- Greek yogurt topped with blueberries and granola
- A banana with 1 Tbsp almond butter
- Few whole-grain crackers with a hard-boiled egg
- NuGo Egg White Protein Bar
In order for our bodies to recover properly, it is best to refuel as soon as possible with plenty of nutrients, such as carbs, proteins, fats, and fluids. During exercise, our bodies use stored energy, which must be replenished afterward, particularly carbohydrates and proteins. This is especially important for those individuals whose diet plays a crucial role in managing blood sugar levels and need a high-quality diabetes snack bar. Blood sugar levels can drop significantly during periods of intense exercise, so refueling properly with a wholesome, nutrient-dense snacks play a major role in healthy recovery. If you are unable to squeeze in a full meal, aim to have a balanced snack within the first 30 minutes after exercise.
Below are a few suggested snacks, which would be excellent post-workout options
- Homemade protein & fruit smoothie
- Trail mix with raisins, whole-grain cereal, and almonds
- NuGo Slim diabetes snack bar
Low sugar NuGo Slim has 17 grams of protein and a tested very low glycemic index, certifying slow metabolism. This means that NuGo Slim can help dieters avoid crashes and help consumers coping with diabetes keep blood sugar steady. The best part is that NuGo Slim tastes great since it is coated in indulgent real dark chocolate!
The main takeaways to remember when planning out pre-workout vs. post-workout meals and snacks are that carbohydrates and proteins will be the two main nutrients responsible for replenishing energy stores, and repairing muscle mass, respectively. Additionally, aim to eat within 3 hours prior to exercise and within 30 minutes afterward. Whatever your workout may include, having a solid nutrition plan to accompany it, will be sure to set you up for success!