Workout Fuel!

We all know that food gives our body the fuel it needs to function, but it seems counter-intuitive to eat before exercising when trying to lose weight. The fact is, eating the right foods before working out supplies our body with the energy needed for an effective workout. But what should we eat before and after workouts for the best bodybuilding or fitness experience?

Generally, your choice of food should depend on the kind of activity you are about to undertake or the intensity of the workout you have undergone. However, there is no “best” food, as what works best for one body may not be appropriate for another. While these foods may not product results as quickly as supplements do, they will certainly keep you healthy while maintaining your body fitness.

1. Carbohydrates (such as Fiber-Rich Oats)

Workout fuel, and it tastes great too.

Eating foods rich in complex carbs (such as oats) before a workout supplies your body with energy to sustain your activities. Also, eating oats after exercise replenishes the glycogen stores that you might have depleted during the session.

Other complex carb options include eating energy chews or drinking a sports drink just before you start your workout. Don’t want to buy expensive sports drinks or want to avoid high-fructose corn syrup, dyes, and preservatives? You can also make a homemade sports drink comprising freshly squeezed citrus juices, honey, sea salt, and water.

2. Proteins (such as Peanuts)

5 bowls of different  types of nuts
Most nuts are rich in protein, with peanuts being the richest one.

Protein is needed for muscle repair, especially after exercising. Most nuts are a great source, as they’re rich in protein with peanuts being the richest. Eating a little bit of protein before working out can help stave off hunger during the session as well. But be careful not to eat too much or you can overtax your digestion system. Eating protein after a workout session will also help with muscle repair.

3. Antioxidants (found in Blueberries)

milk, oats, and blueberries in a jar
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants.

Dried blueberries are rich in antioxidants and easy to digest. When eaten before exercise, the carbohydrates in blueberries fuel the muscles and the fiber content offers sustaining power. After a workout, the polyphenolic compounds found in blueberries help combat muscle stress, helping to prevent soreness and inflammation. A combination of blueberries and high-protein oatmeal will give you sustained energy if you are going to be working out for an extended period of time.


Chocolate lovers will rejoice, as chocolate chips also contain antioxidants to help prevent soreness and inflammation. They do so by reducing oxidative muscle stress. Chocolate’s epicatechins also help boost the endurance capacity of your muscles. Plus, eating a few chocolate chips after a workout helps improve your blood flow, bringing more oxygen to replenish your loaded muscles.

4. Simple Sugars (Whole-Fruit Smoothie)

whole fruit smoothie in a jar with bananas and strawberries next to it
Whole-fruit smoothies are loaded with simple sugars.

Drinking a whole-fruit smoothie provides simple sugars that are easily digested during your session. These are preferred if you are planning an intense workout. Some favorites are frozen blueberries, avocado, and banana whirled together in almond milk, but there are thousands of combinations, so use any fruit combination that suits you.

5. Greek Yogurt

greek yogurt parfait with granola, blueberries, and raspberries
Greek yogurt has a great combination of protein and simple sugars with probiotics as an added bonus.

Greek yogurt is famous for its great probiotics, but it is also one of the most effective snacks after exercising. Greek yogurt has simple sugars that are quickly absorbed after a rigorous workout, thereby supplying more energy to your body. It is worth noting that it contains more than twice the amount of protein content as plain yogurt. We’d call that a superfood!

Your body needs to be strong before, during and after the workout. What you eat during these three periods should be dictated by the nature and length of your workout session. You may need to refuel if the session is long, but short routines do not require it. Choosing the right foods will help you get the most of your workout routine.

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