To maximize energy and performance based on your fitness goals, you’ll need to fuel your body pre and post workout.
Stumped on what to eat and when? Use this as your guide.
1. High Intensity Cardio Sprints
Go for easily digested carbs and a little protein. My go-to snack for this type of workout is a banana with 1T peanut butter. The banana provides the energy and calories to keep performance high, potassium to prevent cramping, and is digested before you begin. The protein and fat in the peanut butter will keep you satiated for the long haul.
After high intensity sprints, your body is running on empty – meaning, low muscle-glycogen stores. You must refuel post cardio sprints so that you avoid muscle wasting. If you wait longer than 45-minutes to refuel, your body finds the energy it needs through muscle tissue, rather than fat. Refuel your glycogen stores and feed your muscle with a combination of carbohydrates and protein - ideally, a ratio of 1 carbohydrate and 2 proteins. This can be accomplished with 8-12 ounces of chocolate milk. It’s quick, easy, tasty, and the right balance of nutrients post-workout.
2. Total Body Strength Training
Focus on a balanced combination of both carbohydrates and protein since you will not be depleting your muscle glycogen stores as much as you would with cardio sprints. My favorite pre-workout snack for strength training is a whey protein shake, combined with fruit – simply shake or blend with ice and go.
It’s important to replenish the hard-working muscles post strength training. Fuel them with a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and little bit of fat (preferably quality fat that is a medium-chain triglyceride – don’t let the name scare you!). Try one cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 Tablespoon of cacao seeds (course ground, typically found at natural food stores), and 1 sliced banana.
3. Combination of Strength and Cardio
For a workout with both strength and cardio, you’ll need the carbohydrates for energy and stamina and protein to satiate you throughout the length of your workout plus, keep muscle repair in check. Shoot for a carbohydrate and protein rich snack like, plain Greek yogurt, with fruit and ¼ oats or granola an hour before your workout.
You need to refuel with complex and simple carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores – plus, protein for muscle repair. Try 1 scoop of whey protein mixed with oatmeal (½ cup oats, hot water and cinnamon)!