What to Eat Before and After a Workout

You’ve finally made it a habit of getting to the gym or doing a regular at-home workout, but you find yourself starving before you get moving or right after breaking a good sweat. So, what’s the best way to quell those hunger pains without undoing all of your hard work? We turned to Adam Kelinson, high performance nutritionist and creator of Organic Performance, to get the scoop.

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Is it OK to grab a bite before your workout session? “Yes, however, consider it 'fueling' as opposed to eating because that is what your body needs, extra calories beyond normal daily activity to fuel your efforts,” Kelinson explains. While you can reach for your favorite healthy foods and snacks, make sure you aim for a good combination of carbs, fat and protein. Kelinson also advises to stay away from foods that can upset your stomach like spicy dishes before working out. Another thing to remember? When you eat it is just as important as what you put on your plate. “Your best timing should be two to three hours before a workout to allow for digestion,” says Kelinson.

If you’d rather eat after your fitness session, healthy proteins are the way to go. “Post-workout, you're looking for proteins to help rebuild the muscles, tissues and fibers you just broke down,” Kelinson says. “A bit of carbs and some fat as well.” As for timing, make sure you eat 15 to 30 minutes after your workout, when your body is ready to absorb those calories.