What Your Body Wants – How to Fuel Your Workout

What we eat before and after workouts has a tremendous impact on how we feel both during and after our exercise session, and on how well our bodies recover. The goal is to maximize our workouts and give our bodies the important nutrients necessary for optimal recovery. The last thing we want is to feel dizzy, light-headed, or sluggish. The goal of a pre-workout meal/snack is to provide energy for your workout. Keep it simple and easy to digest. Minimize protein, fiber, and fat. These nutrients take longer to digest, trapping our much-needed energy in the stomach. Good timing would be at least 45-60 minutes before a workout. Eat whole grain carbs with a little bit of protein. The carbs will give you readily available energy and the little amount of protein will sustain your energy. Good examples:

  • apples with almond butter
  • veggies and hummus
  • whole grain toast with an egg
  • fruit with yogurt, oatmeal
  • whole grain/wheat cereal with milk


After a workout:


The hour following a workout is referred to as the “golden hour.” Training puts a lot of wear and tear on the body. Muscle fibers are broken down, our bodies have used up all of the available nutrients, and our blood sugar has been depleted. It’s within this golden hour that our bodies are most receptive and the absorption rate is at its highest.


The goal of this meal to replenish what you lost and provide what is needed for adequate repair and healing. This meal should consist of more protein for muscle repair and recovery, and less carbs to replace blood sugar and give us energy to get through the rest of the day. Good examples:

  • chicken breast with some black beans
  • turkey sandwich (made with whole grain/wheat bread)
  • chicken stir-fry with veggies and brown rice
  • protein smoothie


And last but not least—water! We lose water when we work out and we need to replenish. Drink water before, during, and after every workout. Water gives you energy. It is needed for all bodily processes, and flushes out the by- products and toxins produced during your workouts.




brendaBrendaBrenda Boback is a Certified Personal Trainer and Cycling Instructor at Harbor Fit. When not teaching classes, Brenda is working one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. She has a special interest in diabetes prevention, nutrition, and women’s health and wellness. You can contact Brenda at fitbydesign@live.com.




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