Want to know what the best pre workout fuel and post workout recovery food choices are? This post includes all you need to know, along with input from with the Minnesota Twins baseball players!
I’ve been getting the same two questions so often lately, whether it be from family, old friends, or those of you out there that I coach. And those to questions are:
- What are the best pre workout foods to eat?
- What are the best post workout recovery meals and snacks to eat?
And I’m happy people ask, because it is SO important to fuel your body properly in order to perform to your best ability, whether it’s simply to feel good in your workout at home, or perform to your potential in your game/race as an athlete!
Picking smart pre workout fuel and post workout recovery foods are key.
With my most recent internship rotation with the Minnesota Twins baseball team at their spring training facility in Florida, I’ve been able to help teach them what are some “better” options to eat before and after working out, and educate them as to why it’s important to focus on. Some were already eating very nutritious options, and others, were definitely excited to hear what they could be doing better.
Here is a snapshot of the best pre workout fuel and post workout recovery, based on all I’ve learned throughout school, on my experience as a D1 athlete myself, and on learning from other athletes I’ve worked with as a dietetic intern!
But first, watch this fun video I made my last day of my rotation with the MN Twins, where I asked them what they typically ate before and after their games. I end by sharing what the best pre workout fuel and post workout recovery formulas are with MN Twins dietitian, Kate 🙂
The biggest thing about pre workout fuel, is figuring out what works for YOU. Everyone is different, and what settles well for one, may not settle for another. Some of my running teammates could eat a full breakfast before a run, whereas I could only stomach a piece of peanut butter toast! The biggest tip is exploring and experimenting on easy workout/practice days, to figure out what works, and what doesn’t. And also to have your focus be on carbohydrates when fueling for a workout or game!
Now these players were actually pretty good with their nutrition, however some I had talked to earlier that day, would sometimes SKIP eating all together after games because of being too tired and just passing out after a long day. DON’T FALL PREY to EXHAUSTION. Post Workout Recovery is JUST as important as Pre Workout fuel! Don’t get too lazy to refeed those muscles and recover well for the next workout or game!
Best Pre Workout Fuel and WHY
Foods/Meals high in carbohydrates with a little protein, and minimal fat or fiber
- Fiber and fat will sit in your stomach too long, as they take longer to digest! This will make you feel sluggish.
- Many people fear carbohydrates; however, think of carbohydrates as the fuel for your engine!
Best Pre Workout Snack Options
- Peanut Butter Toast with a Sliced Banana
- Yogurt, Fruit and Granola
- Oatmeal with a Banana
- Egg Sandwich on an English Muffin
- Protein Bar without too much fiber and that DOES have some good carbohydrates in it
- Avocado Toast with an Egg
Best Pre Workout Carbohydrate Sources
- Whole Grain Toast
- English Muffin
- Other Fruit
- Sweet Potato
- Low Sugar Cereal
Why Pre Workout Fuel is Important?
- It gives your body the energy it needs to perform well
- It will allow you to workout harder and for longer periods of time
- It prevents injury from exhaustion, and can even aid in faster recovery time
Best Post Workout Recovery and WHY
Window: 0-60 minutes after — sooner the better!
A 2:1 to 4:1 ratio of Good Carbohydrates to Protein
- That means 2-4 grams of carbohydrates for every 1 gram of protein
- Aim closer to the 2:1 ratio for shorter workouts and games/less intense exercise, and closer to the 4:1 ratio for longer, endurance type workouts and games.
- ** People FEAR carbohydrates and LOVE just consuming protein after workouts. Don’t fall into this trap. Your body NEEDS carbohydrates to recover and be ready for the next workout/game!
Best Post Workout Snack Options
- Chocolate Milk
- Fruit Smoothie with milk, greek yogurt and fruit
- Oatmeal with Protein Powder and Fruit mixed in
- Omelette with Toast
- Turkey and Avocado Sandwich
- Salad with Chicken/Fish and a side of rice or a potato
- Pasta with Grilled Fish/Chicken/Steak and vegetables
- Grilled Chicken Breast or Steak with a Baked Potato and Asparagus/Broccoli
Why Post Workout Recovery is Important
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Aids in quick recovery
- Stops Muscle Protein Breakdown sooner
- Supports Muscle Growth
- Prepares you to feel rested and ready for your next practice/workout/game!
- Longer Answer: Your body is constantly breaking down muscle and building it back up. There will always be muscle protein breakdown and synthesis happening. However, exercise of any kind leads to greater breakdown than synthesis, as it breaks down your muscle, and your muscle protein synthesis is in negative balance. To stop this muscle protein breakdown happening, and to create a positive muscle protein balance, you need to FEED those muscles both carbohydrates and protein.
- ***WATCH this video of my presentation on PROTEIN to give you a more detailed picture of it all 🙂
So now that you know the basics of the best pre workout fuel and post workout recovery, TELL ME:
- What was your favorite part of the video?
- Do you eat anything similar to any of the players in the video?
- What is YOUR favorite food to eat before a workout?
- What is ONE food you can’t eat before a workout?
- What is your go to AFTER a workout?
Until next time, let me know what you’d like my next video to be on!