Salad Menu - What to Eat Before and After A Workout for Max Results

What to eat before and after a workout

About to go for a workout? Don't even think about it until you know exactly what to eat before and after so you can keep your body properly fueled for the best possible results. If you're not paying attention to your diet throughout the day, even if you complete a rigorous workout, you will only get half the results you should be getting.

You can't eat just anything before and after a workout! To maximize your workout results, you need to stick to a strategic plan for preparing your body for exercise and helping your body cool down after.

Here's a full menu of foods to help you take your body to the next level:

Pre-Workout Foods

  • A slice or two of whole wheat bread
  • Fruits (especially bananas)
  • Peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt
  • Trail mix (containing nuts and dried fruit)
  • Oatmeal
  • Almond butter
  • Natural smoothies
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Carrots
  • Salad

Post-Workout Foods

  • Spinach
  • Fish
  • Hummus
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Veggie omelets
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Chicken (grilled or baked)
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Whey protein shakes
  • Ham
  • Turkey
  • Greek yogurt
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Almond butter
  • Salad
  • Egg whites
  • Fruit smoothie

The Basics

The overall approach to maximizing your body's performance and progress is to focus on eating healthy carbohydrates before your workout, and lean protein after. Carbs give you the energy to work out and maximize your performance. Protein will help your post-workout recovery and promote muscle health.  

But when should you eat these items in relationship to your workout time?

Ideally, eat your pre-workout meal about two hours before you start exercising. It should primarily contain healthy carbs and about 300-500 total calories. For your ideal post-workout recovery, eat mostly lean protein and some vegetables about 20-60 minutes after you exercise. This timeframe gives your muscles time to cool down so that they can better absorb nutrients and protein from your meal. Eating a meal right after working out means fewer nutrients will be absorbed.

Foods to Avoid

  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Anything fried
  • White rice
  • Caffeine
  • Processed foods
  • Fast food
  • White bread
  • Fatty red meat
  • Regular potatoes
  • Alcohol
  • Soda
  • Fruit juice (unless 100% natural)

Don't go months of working out without seeing much progress. Maximize your performance and results with the proper foods at the right times while avoiding the ones that slow you down.