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Health and Fitness News

Fuel the Burn

A tasty look at the best pre- and post-workout snacks.

Ever feel like you’re running on empty during your workouts? It may be a lack of sleep, dehydration, or even hormonal changes. But it might not be. The problem may be that you didn’t eat the right pre-workout snack. Just like a car needs gasoline to run, your muscles need the right nutrition to perform their best. Since you work with a trainer to plan your workouts, it only makes sense to plan workout-boosting snacks as well.

What do pre- and post-workout snacks look like?

For the best results, go with a small snack or meal that’s high in carbs an hour or two before hitting the gym. Carbs quickly break down into glucose, providing the body with a quick source of energy. If necessary, your body will turn to glycogen stores in the liver and muscles for extra energy during your workout. Having it on hand ensures you don’t run out of gas before reaching the finish line of your routine.

Less than an hour after your workout, eat a snack or meal that includes both protein and carbs to help your muscles recover, replenish glycogen stores in your muscles, and stimulate new muscle growth.

Want more? Keep reading for a sneak peak at ideal workout snacks.

Pre-Workout Snacks

Looking for a simple way to fuel your workout? Look no further than a banana. They’re high in carbs, easy to digest, and full of the vitamins and minerals your body needs for exercise. Bananas are especially rich in potassium, a mineral that helps prevent muscle cramps.

A basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich is another way to fill up on carbs. The jelly and whole-grain bread provide the carbs and the peanut butter adds some protein to fill you up.

You may or may not be hiking on the trails, but trail mix is a great pre-workout snack for whatever exercise you do. Raisins and chocolate are high in carbs and the nuts and seeds give fat and protein.

A quick bowl of oatmeal topped with milk and fruit also does wonders to energize your workout. The complex carbs in oatmeal provide a steady supply of energy and keep your blood sugar stable.

Prefer drinking your energy? Mix up a simple smoothie made with Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, fruit, and ice. Stay away from premade smoothies that are high in added sugar.

Keep energy bars on hand for the days you need a quick snack on-the-go. Look for energy bars made with all-natural ingredients that are low in added sugar.

Post-Workout Snacks

Help your muscles recover after a workout with a snack or small meal of whole-grain toast and an egg. Not near a kitchen to cook? Snack on whole-grain crackers with a hard-boiled egg.

You can also replenish your muscles with a turkey wrap. Fill a whole-grain tortilla with turkey deli meat and avocado slices. Avocados are high in magnesium and potassium, minerals that help prevent muscle cramps.

Need post-workout nutrition but aren’t hungry for a snack? Drink a glass of chocolate milk. This sweet drink provides the perfect ratio of carbs and protein, with four grams of carbs to one gram of protein, to help your muscles recover after a strenuous workout.

When your workout is right before lunch or dinner, plan on eating a source of protein and carbohydrate at your meal. A grilled chicken breast with whole grain rice and veggies or salmon with a baked potato are healthy options.