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Fueling For Fitness

Did you know that you might be overeating for your post-workout recovery snack? The truth is that the majority of us are. Instead, fuel smarter with whole-grain carbohydrates, fruit, vegetables and lean proteins, and always try to stick to the portions outlined by the MyPlate:


Before: It’s also extremely important to make sure you fuel up before your workout. If you don’t, you’ll be running on empty and have more to replace after your workout. The ideal pre-workout snack is about 1-3 hours ahead of time. Look to water, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Here are some ideas for a pre-workout snack:

  • peanut butter and banana or PBJ sandwich
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
  • apple and peanut or almond butter
  • handful of nuts and raisins

During: Drink WATER. If your workout is over an hour long and high intensity, then look to add some intermittent snacks every half an hour like a piece of fruit, low-fat yogurt or small carbohydrate.

After: WATER again is your priority. If you had a longer and more intense workout, then adding a carbohydrate like some fruit juice or crackers could be a good way to replenish lost electrolytes with your fluids. Also look for protein to rebuild muscles, like peanut butter on an apple (the carbohydrate) or some cheese and crackers or eggs. Here are some ideas for a post-workout snack:

  • smoothie with low-fat milk and fruit
  • low-fat chocolate milk
  • turkey on whole-grain bread or a wrap with veggies
  • yogurt with berries

Exercise Variations:

Low-Intensity Morning Routine

  •  Before workout: 16 oz of water with a 100-calorie granola bar or small bagel
  • After workout: quality carbohydrate + protein like whole grain toast and hard-boiled egg or oatmeal with berries and skim milk

Evening Routine

  • Before: Eat a lunch with a vegetable and whole grain 3-4 hours before. 15-30 minutes before the workout, have a simple carbohydrate snack, like fruit, with water.
  • After: Water and dinner if within a few hours or a whole grain with a rich protein source like 6-8 oz of fat-free chocolate milk, 6oz low-fat Greek yogurt or string cheese with crackers.

Important Tips

  • Don’t skip meals or be skimpy all day. Starting out strong with breakfast will maintain a consistent blood sugar level and help you prepare for fueling your day and/or workout
  • Don’t reward yourself with an edible treat after your workout
  • WATER is your best friend and 3-8 oz of a sports drink every 15-20 minutes should only be used if the intense activity lasts over an hour or is in a hot and humid condition
  • Carbohydrates are your friend, and they are what will ultimately fuel you over a 1-4 hour period of workout
I'm a Dietetics student at UW-Stout! My passions are health & nutrition, music, movies, sports, eco-friendly living, and being around fun-loving people.
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