The best way to maximize your workout is to ensure your body is receiving the nutrients it needs both before and after your routine. Cynthia Sass, Registered Dietician, states it is important to consume snacks that help to repair your muscles and replenish burned glycogen stores. However, these snack should be light and should not leave you feeling stuffed.
Many individuals are afraid of consuming snacks, either before or after their workout, because of the fear of undoing all of their hard work. By keeping your snacks light, yet nutrient dense, you can feed your body properly without undoing all of your progress. Read below for 10 of the best pre-and post workout snacks.
If your workout last 30 minutes or longer, is a good idea to consume a pre-workout snack. It will not only give you the boost you need to get your workout going, but will also stabilize blood sugar levels. A few good pre-workout snacks are:
Orange juice, whole-wheat toast, bananas and cinnamon: Dr. Louise Burke, head of Sports Nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sports, states that bananas are nature’s PowerBars.
Bananas are full of easily digestible carbohydrates, as well as potassium, which help to maintain muscle function. Kati Mora, Registered Dietitian, says that by topping a slice of whole-wheat toast with a sliced banana and a dash of cinnamon, you are fueling your body with both simple and complex carbohydrates to give you an initial boost of energy in the beginning of your workout and sustain you for the duration of it. Cinnamon aids in stabilizing blood sugar, and is useful for weightlifters.
This pre-workout snack also helps your body to burn more fat during your workout. Sarah Waybright, Registered Dietitian, explains that your body uses up carbohydrates as a source of fuel, as they are digested faster than protein or fat. By consuming a high carbohydrate snack 15 to 30 minutes before your workout, you are replenishing these used carbohydrate stores, which helps to minimize muscle damage and increases stamina. A few minutes after the workout has started, your body switches over to burning fat as fuel.
Martina M. Cartwright, adjunct professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona, states that the following pre-workout snacks are also a good choice when combined with a small glass of orange juice:
a handful of whole-wheat crackers
one half cup of oatmeal with a handful of raisins
a small bowl of whole-grain cereal with a half cup of low-fat milk
one half cup of whole-grain pasta with a small amount of pure butter
Whereas it is a good idea to always consume a pre-workout snack, not everyone needs a post workout one. Most individuals do not exercise hard enough to warrant a post workout snack. A 30- minute light weight training session, or moderately easy cardio session, are not high intensity enough to deplete your blood sugar levels. Consuming a snack after one of these workouts can actually hinder weight loss because you are replacing all the calories you just burned.
However, if your workout was intense enough to make you sweat, elevate your heart rate and labor your breathing, you may want to go ahead and consume a snack such as:
Non-fat Greek yogurt and fresh fruit: Michelle Murphy Zive, Registered Dietician with the University of California, San Diego, states that Greek yogurt is an ideal post workout snack because of his high protein levels. This helps your muscles to rebuild and recover after an intense session. Topping it with fresh fruit can help rebuild depleted glycogen levels.
Zive also recommends:
4 ounces of canned tuna on a slice of whole grain toast
a protein shake made with 2 scoops of whey protein, one half of a banana and fat free milk
1 whole-wheat English muffin with a few slices of turkey breast
a whole wheat pita with a quarter cup of hummus