Navigation follows, skip to content? New England Baptist Hospital Logo Utility navigation follows, skip to content? Primary navigation follows, skip to content?

Life in Motion

The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Working Out

Sports & Exercise

Many athletes spend a lot of time focusing on the physical training needed for their sport, but one thing that is often overlooked is the importance of nutrition. Proper nutrition can help provide the fuel needed to perform your best.

Two nutrients that are essential to an athlete’s performance are carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates provide energy for exercise, while protein is important for muscle repair and growth. Good sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Proteins come from two sources: animals and plants. Animal proteins, such as dairy, meat, and eggs, are “complete proteins,” meaning they contain all of the amino acids our bodies require to build muscle. Most plant proteins are “incomplete proteins” and should be paired with other plant-based proteins or animal proteins to effectively build muscle. Soy and quinoa are rare examples of complete, plant-based proteins.

Making thoughtful food choices before a workout or competition will supply your body with enough energy to perform without upsetting your stomach. It is recommended to eat 3-4 hours before exercising and consume a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack. Choose foods that are low in fat and high in fiber such as trail mix, peanut butter and bread, oatmeal, or turkey and cheese wraps. If you are looking for a quick snack 30-40 minutes before a workout, try something small such as a piece of fruit.

After putting your body through rigorous activity, you should replenish with carbohydrates, protein, and fluids. Carbohydrates are stored in your muscles as glycogen, much of which is used during exercise and needs to be replaced. Protein is required to repair muscles that have been broken down. Optimal post-workout meals pair carbohydrates and lean proteins. Examples of this include a chicken taco bowl, tofu stir fry, or an omelet with toast. It’s also important to stay properly hydrated during and after you exercise.

A healthy diet is a competitive advantage in athletes. Consider balanced nutrition as a part of your training for ultimate performance.

Read More

Footer navigation follows, return to top?

Our Cookie Policy

Your privacy is important to us. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to ensure the performance and security of our website and to monitor website use for business and website optimization purposes. This may include disclosures about your use of the website to third parties. By using our website, you agree to its use of these technologies. To learn more, please read our Terms of Use.