How to Fuel and Replenish Your Body Before and After a Workout

Photo by Jen Zhu '18 | Hitting the gym? It’s important to eat protein and carbohydrates before and after your workout.

Photo by Jen Zhu ’18 | Hitting the gym? It’s important to eat protein and carbohydrates before and after your workout.

Raegan Stokes ’19
Sports Editor

There is no doubt that it’s important to eat before a workout. Your body needs energy from food to fuel your exercise. Not eating before a workout can actually have detrimental effects. Constantly working out on an empty stomach can slow your metabolism and cause muscle loss. Before a workout, it is best to eat a mix of complex and simple carbohydrates as well as protein to ensure that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady. Here are some healthy options to get you charged up, all available in the dining hall:

1. Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas

Whole wheat toast and bananas is a great mix of complex and simple carbohydrates, which ensures that you won’t run out of energy mid-workout. The peanut butter is an excellent protein source.

2. Yogurt and granola

Yogurt is easy on your stomach and full of protein. The sunflower seeds in the granola at Smith are great for keeping insulin levels from dropping mid-workout, and the oats offer a steady supply of carbohydrate energy.

3. Oatmeal with fruit

Oatmeal gradually releases sugar into your bloodstream, which is important if you are planning on a long workout. Oatmeal also serves as a source of protein – a typical bowl of oatmeal has six grams of protein. The fruit gives you an extra kick of energy.

4. Caffeine

Caffeine has been shown to speed up metabolism, increase muscle strength and decrease muscle soreness by 50 percent post-workout – more reasons to indulge in your coffee addiction!

During a workout, your body uses stored energy called “glycogen.” It is important to eat a mix of carbohydrates and protein after your workout to refuel your body’s energy storage and help repair your muscles. Since you lose a lot of fluids during a workout, it is also important to drink lots of water or chocolate milk. Here are some healthy options to follow up your workout.

1. Whole wheat tuna salad sandwich with hummus and spinach

Tuna is high in protein and carbs, which is just what you need to replenish after a hard workout. Hummus is high in fiber, and spinach is excellent for curbing appetite later in the day.

2. Salad with chickpeas, your choice of veggies, olive oil and vinegar

Salad is a great canvas on which to pile veggies and protein sources. The chickpeas have many health benefits like being high in fiber and helping with muscle movement and sleep because of a nutrient in chickpeas called choline. The olive oil serves as a healthy source of fat.

3. Chocolate milk

A powerhouse after a workout, chocolate milk has the carbohydrates, proteins, sugars and fluid that helps recover muscles and replenish lost fluids. Chocolate milk is the best thing to help you recover and regain energy.

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