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The Best Pre- and Post-Workout Foods

We’ve all been there – running on the treadmill when all of a sudden, you feel a cramp coming along. Two minutes later you’re doubled over in pain, unable to continue what seemed to be a good workout. Thankfully, there is a solution to running and workout cramps, and it lies in the pre-workout meal.

These are the main ingredients to focus on in a pre-workout meal:

Whole Grains

Foods with whole grains are typically high in fiber content, allowing the food to digest without any issues during exercise. Also, it supplies the body with much needed nutrients.

Water

Staying hydrated before, during, and after a workout is one of the most important things you can do for your body. It allows you to conduct rigorous exercise safely, and avoid cramping or muscle pain.

Fiber

Fiber assists the body in digestion. When eating a pre-workout meal, including fiber will allow the food to be digested before the workout, avoiding stomach cramps and vomiting.

Low Glycemic Carbohydrates

Also known as the “right kind of carbs,” these help aid in weight loss. This is because it is a more filling type of carbohydrate with a more wholesome and complete structure.

These are the main ingredients to focus on in a post-workout meal:

Protein

Our cells are constantly reproducing. It is important to eat protein to aid these cells in reproducing healthier, stronger cells after a workout. It also assists in gaining muscle mass.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important in forming a healthier immune system. It forms stronger collagens when consumed and is great for hydration and replenishment after a workout.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are the main source of energy when working out, and should be supplied before and after exercise. These should be consumed for replenishment after a workout.

Potassium

Potassium is essential in avoiding muscle cramps after a workout. It keeps blood from clotting and balances out our pH, avoiding the results of pain and aches.

Here are some of the best foods for a pre-workout meal:

  • Oatmeal and oats

  • Yogurt

  • Whole grain bagel, toast or cereal

  • Flax seed

  • Grapes and berries

  • Carrots

Here are some of the best foods for a post-workout meal:

  • Eggs

  • Bananas

  • Oranges

  • Pasta

  • Trail mix

A few workout tips:

  • Before working out, avoid foods that are high in fat. It takes longer to digest and will most likely lead to stomach cramps and aches. 
  • Know your gut. If you are the type of person who takes longer to digest, eat 3-4 hours before a workout. If this isn’t an issue, eat 1-2 hours beforehand.
  • Fun fact: Quest and Cliff bars have been rated as the top energy bars for their supplements of protein.
I'm Mel, a hockey playing, musical performing, cat lover from Connecticut. An aspiring broadcast journalist, I hope to post content that captures the essence of emerson, while also encouraging others to make differences within their community.
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