By Erin McKenna, RDN, CDN

Imacon Color ScannerIt should come as no surprise that fueling your body with proper nutrition before and after working out is very important. You work so hard, so why not maximize your efforts by giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive?

Here are some tips to help you achieve your goals.

1) Don’t eat immediately before a workout

Your body wants to focus on doing one thing at a time. After you eat, your body wants to work on digesting the food in your stomach. When you exercise, your body wants to focus on your muscles. Fuel your body 1-3 hours before you work out. Experiment with a time frame that works for you.

2) Pre-workout

Carbohydrates are important to help fuel your workout. Try to stick with carbohydrates that are nutritious and easy to tolerate. Fruit, beans and quinoa are better choices than rice, pasta and bread because of the nutritional value and because they don’t expand as much.

Some pre-workout fuel may include:

  • ½ Banana and 1 T almond butter
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt with ¼ cup berries
  • ¼ cup Oatmeal with splash of low-fat milk and ½ cup berries
  • 1 Apple with 1 T peanut butter

3) Post workout

As soon as possible post workout it is important to restore the nutrients lost during exercise. It is recommended to fuel within 15-20 minutes post workout with both carbohydrates and protein. Your body depleted its stored glucose (glycogen) so it’s important to replenish the glycogen and also to give your muscles the protein they need to rebuild and repair. It is also crucial to stay hydrated. Remember to sip slowly throughout the day!

Post workout meal ideas include:

  • Protein shake made with 1 scoop 100% whey protein, 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2-3 oz turkey on a ½ whole-grain wrap with 1 cup non-starchy vegetables
  • 2-3 oz grilled chicken, 1 cup non-starchy vegetables, ¼ cup quinoa

*For post-surgical bariatric patients, meals and snacks (portions and dietary sources) may need to be adjusted to better meet your needs. Please speak with a Registered Dietitian.

Erin McKenna is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is currently working with Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients.  She works with patients to help them achieve their health and weight loss goals.