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January 10, 2014

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Foods That Help Maximize Your Workout

By Whitney Saupan

It seems like after the New Year, especially in the beginning of January, there is a large population of people who make losing weight, eating healthier, and just getting in shape their top resolutions. I count myself among these people. I'm never quite sure if I should eat before working out, or what I should eat to maximize my energy, and then when I'm done what I should eat so that I don't ruin the work I just put in. Luckily there are a lot of great websites with good tips on the types of foods you should eat before and after you work out! Here are some of those things.

Things to eat before you work out:

  • Whole wheat toast with sliced banana and cinnamon: before you work out you'll want to eat carbs, because at the gym they are your best friends. You need a good mix of both complex and simple carbs so you'll have energy throughout your workout.
  • Greek yogurt and trail mix: If you are planning on going on a run, this is the perfect thing before you hit the road. Yogurt is easy on your stomach and when combined with the trail mix it can give you just the little boost you need. Be sure to get the trail mix that is filled with good things like nuts and dried fruits. Try to avoid ones filled with chocolate pieces. The sugar from the dried fruit will give you a boost while the nuts and seeds will help you from crashing in the middle of your jog. Don't eat too many though or you may begin to feel sluggish and slow.
  • Smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to get a meal on the way to the gym or before you begin your workout. An added bonus of smoothies is that you can make any flavor you'd like. One recipe suggests using your favorite fruit, Greek yogurt and granola to make a thicker consistency. If you don't have the time or ingredients to make a smoothie you can pick one up, just be sure that it is whey or milk based!
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a great dish to eat before starting your workout. It'll stick with you throughout the entire workout and will gradually release energy. If you add fruit to your oatmeal it will help increase the fluid content and help keep you hydrated.
  • Apple slices with almond or peanut butter: If you want something sweet, but not sugary, before your workout apples are the way to go. They provide you with the energy you need without the crash from sugar. Add some almond or peanut butter to help stay full and boost your energy level.

Things to eat after you work out:

  • Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables: This dish is very nutrient-dense and since your body is now recovering this is exactly what it needs. Chicken is a lean protein and has carbohydrates so it will fill you up without making you feel bloated. The vegetables are good for your heart.
  • Omelets: Omelets like veggie and avocado are a great source of protein and help in muscle recovery and growth. The avocado adds fiber and monosaturated fats, which are good for you. The veggies are full of vitamins and will give your body a boost. Be sure to fill your omelet up with the good stuff!
  • Salmon and sweet potato: Not only are sweet potatoes delicious they are packed with complex carbs that will help restore your glycogen levels that get depleted after a workout. Salmon is full of protein and helps reduce inflammation which is good for your joints.
  • Whole wheat tuna fish, hummus and spinach sandwich: This is great for a lunchtime workout. The tuna is high in carbs and protein but low in fat, the hummus is high in fiber and is also better than most other sandwich spread, and the spinach is a powerhouse, it curbs your appetite, boosts your complexion, and lowers blood pressure and inflammation. If you don't like sandwiches I'm sure eating these foods alone would also be beneficial.
  • Chocolate milk: This is probably my favorite post-workout snack! This yummy drink has everything you need in one! It's full of carbs and protein for muscle recovery, water content to replace while you were sweating it out, and calcium, sodium, and sugar that all help you recover faster.

There you have it! Ten things that can help you maximize your workout! Time to hit the gym!


Whitney Saupan
Weekly Newsletter Contributer since 2013

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