You’ve got your Lululemon gear on, hair in a pony, you’re ready to lace up and get your sweat on. But there’s one problem: you’re starving.
The carrot kale salad topped with grilled salmon you had for lunch is a distant memory.
You’ve been in this story a zillion times, so you know how this plays out. You open and close the pantry and refrigerator doors at least one hundred times.
Plan A: You grab the leftover pizza, shovel it down, and regret it as it sloshes around in your stomach turning your workout into a seemingly counterproductive duel between exercise endorphins and digestive angst . . .
Plan B: You white knuckle it through your workout on an empty stomach, and when you get home, you shove whatever you can into your mouth as fast as you can, feeling like you’ve undone your gym efforts as the first cheese cracker touches your lips.
Your familiar situation has you stuck.
A poorly planned pre-workout snack forces your body to juggle channeling blood to your digestive tract to digest and channeling blood to your muscles to work. The result is usually stomach pains and sometimes nausea.
Alternatively, exercising on an empty fuel tank results in a low energy workout with poorer performance and gains.
So what should you eat as a pre-workout snack and/or a post-workout snack?
I’ve supported countless clients through navigating their pre-post-workout conundrum, but the fact is, there’s no one size fits all perfect pre-workout snack or post-workout snack.
Trial and error is part of the game and is essential to figuring out what works for you, the activity you’re doing and your lifestyle.
Your snack for the 90 minute yoga class may be different than what you choose before your Tabata sprint sesh on Saturdays.
Your pre-workout snack should offer you a few things:
Carbs: energy from carbohydrates so you don’t run out of steam
Satiety: so you aren’t starving in 20 minutes
Digestibility: easy digestibility so nothing lingers in your stomach and weighs you down
H2O: hydration to keep you from feeling sluggish
If your workouts are intense, your post workout snack should offer:
H2O: water is uber important for your overall energy, maintaining electrolyte balance and restoring losses from the great sweat you worked up
Protein: helps to restore your enviably hard worked muscle tissue
Carbs: help to replete glycogen losses, and the energy you store in your muscles
5 Awesome Pre-Workout Snacks:
- Healthy hippie. 1 slice Ezekiel toast, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, ½ a small avocado & sprinkle of fleur de sel
- Choco-java lover. 1 cup iced coffee blended with 2 tablespoons chocolate hemp protein and a small banana
- Fat fabulous. Chia pudding (combine 1 ½ cups lite coconut milk from a carton, mixed with 5 tablespoons chia seeds and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight, makes 4 servings) top with a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut and raspberries
- Sweet ‘n healthy. Avocado banana smoothie.
- Fruitalicious. Take 1 cup fruit salad (oranges, grapefruit, berries, melon or whatever looks the best and freshest) and top with 2 tablespoons flax meal.
5 Awesome Post-Workout Snacks:
- Carb and protein perfection. Mix ½ cup steel cut quick oats with one beaten egg, 1 tablespoon coconut flakes and a ½ cup of water, a shake of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract. Microwave on medium for 4 minutes.
- Probiotic pie. Layer 4 ounces full fat plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons organic canned pumpkin, a tablespoon of chopped pecans, ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie mix and a teaspoon of turbinado sugar.
- Green master. The green master juice with 20 pistachios.
- Blazing trails. Make a trail mix with 10 almonds, 1 tablespoon dried unsweetened coconut, a tablespoon of raisins and 2 cups of air popped popcorn.
- The meathead. Two pieces buffalo, beef, turkey or salmon jerky (about 1.2 oz) and a bowl of crudite.