Chow down: The best foods to eat before and after your workout

Because you wouldn’t want to undo all of your hard work on a post-run burrito, now would you?

By Katie Skelly
If you’re one of those people who tend to reward yourself with a big 'ole burger after Bikram Yoga, then perhaps you need to learn something today.
Put it this way – there’s no point in going for that early morning jog if you plan on having a pop tart for breakky, and while we all have weak moments and sometimes accidentally have to eat a Kit Kat after climbing 12 flights of stairs (what? Don’t judge!), it’s much better to know the best fuel to put in your body which will compliment the all the hard work you just performed.
It may sound obvious, but the food you feed your body before and after your workout is actually part of the crucial formula to losing weight, building lean muscle and getting the most out of your training.
So without further ado, here are our top tips for what to eat before and after you hit the gym.
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Why you should eat before a workout:
Just because science has discovered that the body can burn the same amount of fat on either a full or empty stomach, it doesn’t mean you should skip breakfast.
When the body has no protein to burn, it turns to your muscles for fuel – meaning that if you choose to work out on an empty stomach, your body will likely lose the abs you worked so hard to gain in the first place.
To prevent this as well as any tiredness and muscular fatigue, you’re going to want to fuel up the right way before you hit the gym.
For a power-packed pre-workout smoothie, try this almond and avocado protein smoothie from our friends over at Food To Love!
What you should eat before a workout:
Try and include some form of complex carbohydrate, as well as a protein.
For breakfast, this can include a piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter, cinnamon and banana or a goodness-packed smoothie with berries, yogurt and bran.
Or for a savoury option, try crackers with hummus or brown rice with baked sweet potato, broccoli and olive oil.
Avoid mid-workout grumbles with a healthy fuel up.
Why you should eat after a workout:
After finishing a sweat session, your body is looking for some kind of energy source to replenish the glycogen you just used up in your last star jump.
Since this is usually the time those fried food cravings set in, it’s important to have something small on hand to tide you over.
Experts recommend munching on a small amount of carbohydrates shortly after exercise such as a small sandwich, banana smoothie or a handful of popcorn and then indulging on a proper meal 45 minutes later.
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What you should eat after a workout:
Eating lean proteins and healthy fats 45 minutes after a workout will give your body the best chance to build lean muscle, refuel and recover for your next session.
Try a green leaf salad with avocado, egg, chickpeas and baked potato for an easy lunchtime whip-up.
And for something a little bit more hearty, try baked salmon with veggies and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Happy eating!
For a healthy post-workout dinner, try this salmon with shaved cauliflower salad!

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