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Nutrient Timing: What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Nutrient Timing: What to Eat Before and After a Workout
April 14, 2014 4 minute read

Happy Monday everyone! I’m back in NYC after a 4-week trip to Europe and to kick off my return I’m going to be cranking out the springtime posts. Let’s get ready for summer! So seeing as everyone is running around the city in spandex and workout tanks I’m sensing the need to start by turning the fitness talk up a notch.

While I’m not perfect when it comes to working out regularly (it’s been a crazy year with travel, getting married, surviving my first frigid East Coast winter, and recovering from a wrist injury), being healthy is a part of me. I don’t waver with the seasons – the way I look and feel when I am good to my body is enough to keep me constantly motivated. I truly believe that leading a balanced life is the key avoiding the self-destructive “falling off the wagon” phenomenon – I let myself skip that early morning kickboxing class today because I know tomorrow I’ll be rested and raring to go again. What I’m trying to say is my body won’t be in complete shock when I increase my workout intensity this spring, but if you’re not a fitness freak like me your body may be in for a surprise. If you’re one of those people who let that day off turn into a month off or even a year off…you need to be smart about jumping back into fitness. Use this warm weather motivation as a way to make a bigger change, a lifestyle change, not just a seasonal change. And set realistic goals!

Alright, so for those who are getting fit for bikini season – for the first time in a while or just in addition to your regular routine – I thought I would talk about fitness tips passed on to me through trainers, my own research, and years of sports to help you achieve your best body. Get ready for some workout ideas, my favourite classes, and some nutritional information to maximize your fitness goals. With hard work and dedication you’ll have that glowing and toned body in no time. First up: what to eat before and after a workout (because it matters!). 



You don’t necessarily need to eat right before a workout, but you need to make sure you’ve eaten something within a couple hours. I like to workout two hours after I’ve had my morning oatmeal. Or if I train in the evening, I’ll workout 2 hours before dinner and grab a small snack before hitting the gym. I brought up glucose and its importance for energy here, but here’s a bit more information. Again, glucose is either readily available as blood glucose or in its stored form glycogen in the liver and muscles. The more intensely you workout, the more your body will rely on glucose for fuel, and if your levels are low your body will take glucose from your muscles. Don’t let that happen. Don’t workout without fueling yourself properly before.



Complex carbohydrates are key for quickly supplying your blood with glucose.



Post-workout nutrition is almost as important as the workout itself. There’s a lot of research on the best way to maximize your body’s recovery, but I like this article that states there’s a 45-minute window of opportunity after a workout session. This window is when your body is readied to “replenish its glycogen stores, and protein repair and synthesis are required.” It then states that the best way to accomplish this is to eat protein and carbohydrates together, so that muscle glycogen and whole-body protein is replenished.



So now you’re ready to properly fuel yourself for the best workout possible. Get those muscles moving and that circulation flowing!


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