Call 904.240.0442

Same Day Appointments Available.
8:00 am – 5:00 pm - Mon – Fri

What Should I Eat Before and After My Workout?


What Should I Eat Before and After My Workout?

One of the most common questions a sports nutritionist or dietitian is asked is “What should I eat before and after a workout? Sometimes the answer depends more on the athlete and their specific activity. However, there are some common truths that apply for pre and post workout nutrition. Whether you are training only on the weekends or year round your body needs carbohydrates to fuel your workout and protein to rebuild and repair your body.

Pre-workout Nutrition 

Carbohydrates are fuel for your muscles. The harder your engine is working the more carbs you need to keep going.

How soon before a workout should you eat..

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best not to eat immediately before a workout because while your muscles are trying to work, your stomach is trying to simultaneously digest the foot in your stomach. These competing demands are a challenge for optimal performance. Also eating too close to a workout may cause you to experience some GI discomfort while you train or play.

Ideally, you should fuel your body about 1 to 3 hours pre-workout, depending on how your body tolerates food. You should try it multiple times and see what time frame works best for your body. If you’re a competitive athlete, this is something you need to explore during your training days and not during game day.

Some suggestions for pre-workout meals:

  • A 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 (two parts raising: one part nuts)

Notice that each of these suggestions includes some protein as well as carbs. Carbs are the fuel. Protein is what rebuilds are repairs, but also “primes the pump” to make the right amino acids available for your muscles. Getting protein and carbs into your system is even more vital post workout.

Post- Workout Nutrition 

Your body uses stored energy (glycogen) in your muscles to power through your workout or game, but after the workout, you need to replenish the nutrients lost.

As soon as possible post workout, get carbs and protein immediately into your body. This gives your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost through training and helps your tired muscles rebuild and repair with the available protein and amino acids.

It is suggested by former Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Christine Gerbstadt, fueling within 15-20 minutes post training with a 3:1 ration of carbohydrates and protein for optimal muscle repair and recovery and eating a regular mixed meal 3 to 4 hours after.

Some suggestion for post-workout meals:

  • Post-workout recovery smoothie
  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • Turkey on a whole-grain wrap with veggies
  • Yogurt with berries

The above offer mainly carbs, some protein and are convenient. You would also need to rehydrate the body and the first two suggestions would help start that process.


  • Your body needs carbs to fuel your working muscles.
  • Protein is there to help build and repair.
  • Get a combination of the protein and carbs in your body 1 to 3 hours pre-workout and within approximately 20 minutes post-workout.
  • Never try anything new on race or game day. It is always best to experiment during training to learn what works best for your body.
Call or Request Appointment!