Pre and post-workout meals are a hot topic in the health and fitness industry.

Everyone wants to know how to fuel their body the best before a workout, and they want to be sure they refuel properly after a workout.  

While various trends for pre and post-workout meals come and go, one thing remains true for both meals: protein and carbohydrates are helpful at both meals.

But don’t worry, you just need to know the basics of your pre and post-workout needs so that you can make smart choices for both meals. 

The Importance of Protein and Carbs for Pre and Post-Workout Meals

protein carbs

Protein helps sustain blood sugar levels while also preserving lean muscle mass and carbohydrates help fuel the body and refuel the body after a workout.

So, now that you know what’s important to take into consideration, here are 10 easy ways you can upgrade your pre and post-workout meals.

Upgrade Your Pre- and Post-Workout Meals With These 3 Tips

1.  Go for Whole, Nutrient Rich Foods First

whole foods

This helps ensure you get enough nutrition for the day. Although some occasional treats are fine, assuming you have an overall healthy diet.

Fat tends to decrease digestion rate, which can make you feel more full than you’d like during your workouts.

2. Eat Smaller Portions

small portions

Unless you’re a grueling athlete who workouts for hours at a time, smaller portions of food are best to eat for pre and post-workout meals. This can also prevent you from overloading on fiber which can cause gas and bloating—something no one wants to deal with before, during, or after a workout.

After a workout, resist the urge to overeat which can undo efforts.

3. Keep it Simple

jar overnight oats

Don’t overthink your pre and post-workout meal too much. Simple food is normally a good choice, such as the options listed above.

4. Be Prepared

be prepared

If you typically squeeze in a workout during the middle of a workday, be sure you’re prepared and have a pre and post-workout meal on hand. This can prevent you from driving through somewhere and getting something from a fast food chain, and it can help prevent you from going hungry pre and post-workout (which may also hurt your muscles and energy levels).

One way you can be prepared is to choose really simple pre and post-workout meals that are easy to prepare. Make them ahead on a Saturday or Sunday, and package them up into individual containers that you can grab and go each morning on your way out the door.

A handy lunch bag or similar style bag may also be useful to help you tote your meals around. Just be sure you have something with you so you can give your body what it needs during the pre and post-workout windows.

What’s your take on pre- and post-workout meals? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!