March 15, 2022 3 min read

There’s some truth in the saying, “you are what you eat”. 

It’s also true that it’s easy to feel overloaded by the nutrition information provided by daily news and the diet industry. That’s especially true when much of that advice seems to contradict each other, and you’re trying to maximize your workouts, your on-the-job performance, and your general wellbeing.

Still, it’s worth paying attention to because the foods you choose and the way you eat can help make your workouts more effective.

Plus, the better you fuel your body, the better your body feels. 

In this quick guide, we’ll look at the basics of eating around a workout and eating the rest of the day…

How to Eat Before and After Working Out:

  1. Keep it light. When you’re  preparing to work out, you want to eat enough to give you energy and stabilize your blood sugar. On the other hand, overeating could weigh you down. Many adults prefer to have a small snack before exercising but finish any large meal at least 3 hours in advance. 

One of our team here at Thinline said he remembers getting peanut butter toast and a hard-boiled egg before PT tests when he was in the Army. He still uses this as a tasty pre-workout snack. 

  1. Consume carbs. Focus on carbs for your pre-workout snack. They are not the enemy. They’re easy to digest, so your body stores them in your muscles as glycogen and breaks them down when you’re exerting yourself.

  1. Monitor your protein. Most adults need to get about 20 to 40% of their daily calories from protein. If you’re trying to build muscle, you may need to be on the higher end. 

  1. Choose whole foods. Energy bars and  protein powders can be convenient and safe for most adults. Even so, you should always first try to get the nutrients you need from a wide range of whole foods.

  1. Drink fluids. Staying hydrated enhances circulation and prevents fatigue. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends about 3 cups of water before a workout, one cup every 20 minutes while you’re exercising, and three cups afterward. 

  1. Understand electrolytes. Plain water is adequate for most fitness programs. However, sports drinks may be helpful if you exercise at high intensity or for more than 90 minutes. These beverages contain additional ingredients, including  electrolytes, which are essential minerals like calcium and potassium that you lose when you perspire.

  1. Refuel your body. Eating after a workout aids  recovery. Have a snack if your next meal is more than 2 hours away. Choose foods high in protein, such as milk, fish, seeds, or nuts. 

How to Eat the Rest of the Day:

  1. Calculate your calories. You could wind up gaining weight if you overestimate how many calories you burn while exercising. Keep a journal if you need help tracking your activity level.

  1. Increase your fiber. Eating foods rich in fiber is beneficial for any fitness level. It can help you manage your weight, lower your cholesterol, and maybe even increase your lifespan.

  1. Start with breakfast. The first meal of the day replenishes your energy and helps you stay alert. If you work out in the mornings, finish your meal at least an hour before exercising, or wait until afterward. You may be comfortable working out on an empty stomach, or you may need a snack first. Test and see what works best for you. 

  1. Consider supplements. What about those shelves of  performance aids you see at the supermarket or health food store? They can’t replace a healthy diet, but they may help if you train intensely or have dietary restrictions.


  1. See your doctor. We are not doctors. For individual nutrition advice, do your own research and talk with your doctor or a registered dietician. They can advise you about specific supplements, meal plans, and other options. 

Listen, taking care of yourself involves a lot of choices. But it really boils down to eating a nutritious diet,  managing stress, exercising regularly, and  sleeping well

Adding these to your lifestyle can help you lead a longer, healthier, and more active life.

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