By Jo Schaalman and Julie Pelaez of the Conscious Cleanse
Wondering what’s the best way to fuel before and after a workout for best results? We get this question a lot, and our answer in a nutshell is quite simple. Eat. Real. Food.
Can you imagine the food some place in nature? Does it grow from a tree? Would an animal eat it? These are the questions we use to guide our food philosophy, and it’s the same approach we use when it comes to pre and post-workout snacks and meals.
Your body stores glycogen and protein in it’s muscles. During your workout, your body first taps into the nutrients you ate pre-workout, moving on to the stored glycogen, which is your body’s carbohydrate stores, burning it as energy next. This is the time when your muscle structure breaks down, allowing the rebuilding and reshaping process to take place.
So when it come to the best pre-workout snacks, we like to eat something that is light and easy to digest, but filled with the just the right mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. This is the time to enjoy natural sugars (from fruit or dates) in your day so your body can use it for quick energy during your workout.
Post-workout there is an ideal window of time–about 30-60 minutes–where your body is primed for refueling and ready to absorb nutrients. This is when the body can most easily replenish protein and glycogen stores.
So as you may guess, post-workout is the best time to focus on protein and carbs from vegetables. And of course, lots of water!
So whether you’re lifting weights, running, spinning, doing a barre workout, a hot yoga class, or hiking a mountain, here are some great real food ideas that will give you the energy you need to get through your workout and the most bang-for-your-buck meals for after a workout.
The best news is that when you eat real food, in addition to the right balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats, you also get vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, with very little (if any) toxic residue.
1. Eat a banana with a tablespoon of almond butter
2. Enjoy this Brain Boosting Smoothie Bowl
3. Try half an avocado with sea salt and lime juice
4. Pop a couple Nut Free Joy Balls
5. Drink a green veggie juice with a side of canned sardines (Yes, really. Don’t knock it before you try it!)
1. Scramble an egg with spinach and goat cheese on top a piece of sourdough bread
2. Warm up a few slices of Sweet Potato Toast with almond butter
3. Try Steel Cut Oats topped with fruit and a nut-based granola
4. Cook up this Turkey Skillet
5. Swap the dairy for this Better Than Yogurt Chia Pudding
Experiment and tune in to your body to see how you feel and in no time, you’ll find just the right pre and post-workout foods.
Jo and Jules