What to Eat Before & After Workouts

The goal is pretty simple: to feel well-fueled, maximize feeling amazing during workouts so you can go hard and get after it, and eat in a way that supports recovery and optimizes muscle-building.

Remember that Carbs are typically the body’s preferential source of energy during exercise. When we eat carbs, the body breaks them down and converts them into glucose. When we don’t need that glucose for immediate energy or activity at hand, the body stores it in our muscles and liver. It’s not something that happens super quickly, so understand that it takes time for glycogen stores to fill up and replenish, especially when we use up those energy stores during exercise.

What this means is that your performance in the gym is often primarily being influenced by the food you ate the day BEFORE exercise (although the day of is certainly important too). This is why I’m not personally a huge fan of Carb Cycling or “rest day” and “training day” macro prescriptions, where we often see less carbs and calories on rest days and more carbs and calories on training days. Typically we’re trying to RECOVER on a rest day – so if we don’t exercise but then drop calories and macros, we might not be be maximizing recovery and may find we feel like trash when we go back to the gym the next day.

Consider avoiding meals or snacks with tons of fat or fiber immediately before workouts — this why you’re not left trying to digest food, left with a gurgling stomach, or dealing with bowel movements while trying to lift or work out. Most people seem to feel best when they eat around ~60-120 minutes before their workout. If training super early in the morning: it’s okay to be fasted, but make sure to prioritize getting in a large protein and carb-filled dinner the night before.

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