Pre & Post-Workout Fueling


Ever attempt to workout after eating and felt an extra weight in your stomach? It can be hard enough to want to get up and get moving. You do not need your food choices to hold you back even more. Instead, you can use food to your advantage! Of course, the activity you are doing may alter these recommendations slightly; and no one knows your body better than you, so if you have your go-to pre or post-workout routine that works well no need to fix something that isn’t broken.


“Not fueling up before you work out is like driving a car on empty,” Riska Platt, M.S., R.D.

You do not have to take an actual pre-workout powder to kick start your energy (though that is totally fine if that is your thing). It is recommended to fuel up 1-4 hours before your workout. You want to make sure you do not eat too close to the time of activity because your body will focus more on digestion than the exercise. 


Hydration is part of fueling up. Even if only 2% of your body weight in fluid is lost, performance can decrease by up to 25%. Below are some guidelines on the timing of H2O. 

2-3 hours before: 17-20oz

20-30 min before: 8oz

Every 10-20 min of exercise: 7-10oz

Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy so it is no secret why we may need to include them in our pre-workout snack/meal.

Another key player is protein. Protein will help you with muscle growth and recovery. Some examples of pairings that match these two helpful macronutrients are:

  • Berries and Greek yogurt
  • PBJ
  • A turkey sandwich on whole grain bread 
  • Banana and peanut butter
  • Apple and almond butter
  • Nuts & Craisins 
  • Whole-grain cereal and milk
  • Lean protein, brown rice and roasted vegetables
  • Oatmeal topped with banana and sliced almonds
  • Granola bar such as Kind, Cliff or Nature’s Bakery Fig bar


The time in which you refuel matters! You want to get some kind of food in within 30-45 minutes of your exercise for the best results. Again water, carbohydrates and protein are the key. Your post workout meal helps decrease protein breakdown, increases muscle growth, restores glycogen stores, and speeds up recovery


At least 8oz within 30 min of finishing exercise.


  • Low fat chocolate milk
  • Pita and hummus
  • Turkey veggie wrap
  • Shrimp & pasta
  • Tofu bowl with kale, spinach, and rice
  • Tuna salad on whole grain bread
  • Salmon with sweet potato
  • Egg and spinach omelet
  • A salad loaded with greens and lean protein
  • Protein shake
  • Avocado on whole grain toast with fried egg
  • Quinoa, chicken and roasted veggie bowl

The bottom line is find what works best for you and your body, but never skip fueling up and refueling. When done right it can maximize your results. Come see us at CHOP5 for the perfect post-workout wrap or crave-a-bowl. We will serve it up super quick to make sure you get it in before that 45 minute window. ; ) If you want it even faster you can always order online and swing by after your gym session for an easy pick up. Hope to see you soon!

Chop Well, Move Well, Live Well!