Q:What is best to eat before and after an intense workout?


This is a question that is up for debate by many. Nutrition choices change based on what type of intense exercise you are doing, whether weight training or cardio or both. Before intense exercise (60-90 minutes or more), it is important to hydrate with water and have some type of easily digested carbohydrate and a small amount of protein. You want to avoid high fiber and high fat foods before intense workouts. A banana with 1 Tablespoon peanut butter (keep it small) is a great choice. Plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and some cinnamon also combines these elements. Many of the shake ideas on the “subscribers” side of the website work great for pre-workout meals.

After an intense workout (or really any workout), it is important to eat as soon as possible. 90 minutes should be the absolute longest to wait, but 30 minutes is the best for optimal muscle recovery. The elements to combine are protein and carbohydrates. Remember that “carbs” does not only refer to bread and pasta, but it also refers to fruits and vegetables. Protein shakes work well for post-workout. Just make sure that the ones you choose are not so full of chemicals that they tax your liver and inhibit fat loss. I can address questions about that as well.

You want significant protein after your workout and only a small amount before. In addition to quality protein shakes, some choices include:

  • Chocolate milk
  • boiled egg with a piece of fruit
  • chicken and butternut squash
  • scrambled egg whites and steel cut oats (no, not mixed together : )
  • cottage cheese topped with peaches