Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition Guide

Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition Guide

Making smart choices about how you fuel your body before and after activity can have a significant impact on your performance and recovery. I’m always surprised when clients tell me how little they eat before a workout or how long they wait until refueling after a workout.  There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about how to properly fuel an active body, so l want to simplify it for you all.  No fancy or expensive supplements needed, just real food!  While individual needs differ based on age, gender, and intensity of workout; here are some basic nutrition guidelines that apply to most.


Fueling up before a workout is essential to the quality of your workout. The belief that exercising on an empty stomach will increase fat loss is completely false. If your body has proper energy on board pre-workout you will be able to perform with greater intensity, endurance, and strength.  It also helps prevent hypoglycemia (ever feel light-headed during a workout?), settles  your stomach (absorbs gastric juices),  and spares your muscles.  It is important to experiment with food and beverages to determine what works best for you.

Pre-Workout Nutrition Tips

  • Focus on easily digestible carbohydrates
  • Lower fat foods for easy digestion
  • Whole foods are best
  • Hydrate with water
  • Cardio: mostly carbohydrates 30-60 minutes prior to activity
  • Strength: carbohydrates with some protein 1-2 hours prior to activity

Pre-Workout Fuel Ideas

  • Banana
  • ¼ c dried fruit
  • Oatmeal + berries
  • Greek yogurt
  • Whole grain cereal + milk
  • Whole grain crackers or apple + cheese stick
  • Carrots + hummus
  • Fruit smoothie: 1 piece fresh fruit or 1/2 to 1 cup frozen fruit + 6 oz plain yogurt + 4 oz milk or milk alternative

Orange Theory Fitness!

Strategic refueling after a workout is crucial in decreasing muscle soreness, building muscle, improving immune function, and increasing bone mass.  Depleted muscles are primed to refuel most rapidly during the first hour after exercise, but will continue to take up carbohydrates for the next 24 hours.  Timing needs will depend on your exercise training schedule.  Athletes training 1-2 times a day will need to refuel more quickly after exercise than a recreational exerciser working out 3-4 days a week.

Post-Workout Nutrition Tips

  • Intense activity aim to refuel within 30 minutes
  • Aim for a mix of quality protein (10-20 grams) + carbohydrate
  • Whole foods are ideal (bars OK if in a pinch)
  • More protein is NOT better
  • Rehydrate properly with fluids

 Post-Workout Recovery Ideas

  • Chocolate milk
  • Apple slices + hard boiled egg
  • Whole grain crackers + hummus
  • Cottage cheese + fruit
  • WW toast + Greek yogurt + chopped pistachios
  • Coffee Buzz: 1 cup coffee + frozen banana + 1 scoop chocolate protein powder ( my fav ) + ice
  • Recovery Smoothie: 1/2 to 1 cup Greek yogurt + 1/2 to 1 cup frozen blueberries + ½ cup pomegranate or cherry juice + 1/2 cup coconut water + ice
  • Protein bars (<10 g sugar, 10-20 grams protein)

    protein smoothie bowl

    protein smoothie bowl

It is important to remember that everyone’s nutritional needs are different. To best support you and your fitness efforts schedule a session! Together we will develop a nutrition plan that will meet your individual needs and help you reach your goals.

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