What Should I Eat Before I Workout?

If you’re ramping up your fitness routine this month to prepare for summer like so many others, don’t forget to support it with nutrition.  

Healthy Food

Q: I’ve started adding regular workouts to my routine because I want to feel great in my swimsuit this summer.  I’ve heard about pre- and post-workout nutrition, but what is it?

A: You are not alone in ramping up your fitness and nutrition as the spring days are getting warmer and summer closes in.  In fact, according to the recent State of the Plate webinar from the Produce for Better Health Foundation, research now shows that April is actually one of the biggest months to start a diet!  It’s no surprise that this is partially attributed to the especially cold winters much of the country has been facing and partially because once we hit April, Memorial Day as the unofficial start to summer is so close you can almost smell the sunblock in the air.

If you’re ramping up your fitness routine this month to prepare for summer like so many others, don’t forget to support it with nutrition.  Restaurants are always ready to help with Healthy Dining choices when you need them.

Overall Nutrition

It may be tempting to jump on the cabbagesoupgrapefruitcookieyounameitcrazy diet, but fad diets are never the answer.  While these diets often result in weight loss, they also come with a healthy dose of deprivation and lack of energy – plus weight gain once you return to your normal eating patterns.  Instead, simply focus on lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, whole grains and low fat dairy in recommended portion sizes.  A dietitian can help guide you with dietary recommendations.

Pre-workout Nutrition

Prior to working out, having a snack that combines carbohydrates with some protein can help you boost and maintain energy.  The size of this snack will depend on the type, intensity and duration of exercise as well as your personal dietary needs.  Try options such as:

  • Fruit smoothie
  • Whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt with strawberries
  • Banana and almonds 

Post-workout Nutrition

It’s never too soon to start thinking about your next workout, even if you just finished a workout!  Within an hour of completing a workout, start loading up your energy stores again with a carbohydrate and protein-rich snack or light meal at your favorite local restaurant.  Experts recommend approximately a 3:1 ratio (carbs to protein) for this energy replenishing snack.  Try options such as:

  • Fruit and yogurt parfait or smoothie
  • Omelet with veggies and a side of fruit
  • Hummus and pita bread

Feel great in your swimsuit this summer with the help of nutrition.  Healthy Dining’s dietitian-recommended choices can help you find the best choices at restaurants to support your healthy lifestyle now and throughout the year.