Snacking is actually an essential part of your workout regimen. Snacking before a workout and snacking after your workout each have their benefits.
To Gain and Store Energy
When you eat the right foods, snacking before a workout helps boost your energy to help you power through a session. It also helps avoid feelings of dizziness, fatigue, or lightheadedness that are all too commonly experienced when letting yourself go hungry. The energy your body stores from pre-workout snacks is then released during your workout, allowing you to focus solely on pushing yourself through the exercises and pushing yourself closer toward your goals.
To Help Repair Muscles
Snacking after a workout helps repair the muscles affected from the exercises. When you exercise, your muscles experience micro tears. Snacking after your workout helps repair and even grow your muscles.
When Should I Snack?
When you eat plays a large role in the success that snacking has on your progress, as well. On days you don’t work out, you should choose healthy snacks between breakfast and lunch and then again between lunch and dinner. On days you work out, it’s essential to grab something good before and after your workout.
Before a Workout
Aim to eat at least 30 minutes before your workout. Your body needs time to digest what you eat in order to properly store those nutrients for release during your next intense session. Snacking before a workout is often referred to as the energy phase, because what you eat then will give you that extra boost to own your workout.
After a Workout
After your workout, don’t wait more than an hour to grab a snack. Shoot for snacking within about 30 minutes of wrapping up your session. The nutrients of what you eat need time to reach your muscles and speed up recovery of those micro torn muscles.
What Should I Eat?
Cut the gummy bears and reach for apples and pears. Snacking is healthy…when you make the right choices, especially before and after a workout.
Slow Digesting Carbs
There are tons of options for pre-workout snacks. It’s important to remember that you should eat foods that contain slow digesting carbs in order to best store nutrients that will later be converted to some much-needed energy.
Healthy options for your pre-workout snack include everything from a slice of whole wheat toast and peanut butter to strawberries and Greek yogurt.
To help your muscles continue to grow in their most susceptible state—right after your workout—add some protein to your post-workout snack. During this short anabolic phase, muscles are particularly receptive to protein.
Drink half a protein shake before and the second half after your session to kickoff the repair and rebuilding process.
Being even slightly dehydrated can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and headaches. Obviously, this is not an optimal state to be in for your workout. And you will lose even more water as you sweat during your workout. So make sure you are properly hydrated!
Drink 8 ounces approximately 15 minutes before your workout, another 8 during, and another 8 shortly after your workout to be sure you remain properly hydrated.