When to Eat to Best Maximize Your Workout Results!

Many people have questions about when and what to eat or drink before, during, or after workouts. There are a number of 'best choices' depending on your individual responses. Here are some guidelines:

For strength training workouts:

As long as you follow proper nutrition in general, you don't need a snack right before you work out, and you certainly shouldn't have a full meal and immediately work out for obvious reasons.

If you work out first thing in the morning, experiment with whether you feel better with a small snack containing protein and carbohydrate, or an empty stomach. Save your full breakfast for after your workout.

It is actually helpful for fat burning to abstain from eating right before your workout.

As long as your workout is one hour or less, water is all you need, and be sure to refuel with carbohydrate and protein as soon as possible after training. A full meal is okay as well, but a high fat content delays the nutrients getting to where they are needed: your muscles. So abstain from foods with high fat content immediately after working out.

Protein powder mixed with a beverage containing sugar is good if you have no appetite after working out or you are on the go. Chocolate milk is another option that contains the needed carbohydrate and protein.

If you choose a snack, a half of a bagel and a string cheese, a protein bar (they contain carbohydrates) or a yogurt with pretzels or fruit are all good choices.

If your workout is longer than an hour, you may need to sip on something like gatorade or coconut water to keep you going, or some watered down orange juice with a sprinkling of salt in it (the 'poor man's gatorade).

Follow your snack post-workout with a full balanced meal 2 hours later.

For cardio workouts:

For cardio workouts, you definitely don't need to eat right before your workout, and as already mentioned it will help with fat burning to abstain from food in the couple of hours before your workout. However, if you find you just don't have energy unless you have a small snack beforehand, go right ahead, since your workout will be much better if you feel better and you'll be able to work harder.

Following cardio workouts, if your main goal is fat loss, all you really need is a protein-containing snack such as a hard boiled egg, a protein shake, or a string cheese, yogurt, or cottage cheese. This helps your muscles recover.

If your main goal is to gain endurance, or if you struggle to maintain your bodyweight, add carbohydrate to your post-cardio snack.

Follow your snack post-workout with a full balanced meal 2 hours later.

Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout--most drops in performance are related to dehydration, not a lack of fuel!

Have a comment or question about this article?

Please share it here!

[ ? ]

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

What if I don't wanna to lose any more weight but looking to tone? Not rated yet
U mentioned that for fat loss, just have only protein snack. For ppl that try to keep weight, try to have carbs and protein after work out. I am skinny …

Click here to write your own.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

"Skip the gym...do the workout."

Home Bodies YouTube Channel

New Book: Change Your Weighs

Recent Articles

  1. Free Ab Workouts

    Sep 02, 20 01:04 PM

    Free ab workouts you can do right at home! Mix up your ab workouts for top tummy-toning results!

    Read More

  2. Can You Really Spot Reduce Those Trouble Areas?

    Sep 02, 20 12:28 PM

    Many poeple want to "spot reduce" trouble areas. But can you spot reduce? The answer is here.

    Read More

  3. Home Workout Core Exercises

    Aug 17, 20 12:45 PM

    Here is a list of videos of core exercises you can perform as part of your home workout.

    Read More