Pre-Workout Post-Workout Meals

The Perfect Pre-Workout and Post-Workout Meals

Breakfast is the most vital meal for some. For others who work out, it’s the pre and post workout foods that can matter the most. the right snacks before and after your workout are ones that offer the right blend of proteins, fats, and carbs to satiate hunger pangs, fueling the workout and helping in muscle recovery. While nutritional requirements and preferences are varied based on activities and goals, eating right has a large role to play in whether you benefit from the workout session. Whether you are a weekend ninja or a seasoned veteran, there are some factors you need to take into account for pre and post workout meals to have a positive impact. Here are the essential factors you should consider.

Carbs are a fuel for the muscles. The harder your muscles work, the more carb you need to fuel the workout and the post-recovery phase. It is better not to consume food immediately prior to a workout when muscles are trying to adjust before the workout. After all, you cannot exercise and digest food at the same time. Eating too close to the workout can damage its value. Fuel your body within one to three hours before the workout, based on how the body tolerates the food. You need to experiment and see what frames function well for the body. If one is a competitive athlete, this needs to be explored during the training period. Some of the best pre-workout meals are light ones, such as peanut butter and banana sandwich, oatmeal with low fat skimmed milk and fruit pieces, Greek yogurt with berries, apple, and peanut or almond butter and nuts as well as raisins. Carbs are fuel while protein rebuilds and repairs to get the right muscles in your body grow and develop.

Getting carbs in the body is essential even afterward because you need the muscles to power games or workouts. Post the workout, you need to make up for nutrients consumed. As soon as you can, get carbs and protein into your body post the workout. This provides muscles the chance to replenish glycogen lost through the workout training. Tired and lost out muscles need to repair and rebuild with protein and amino acid. Eating within 15 minutes of completing the workout is critical. Post workout snacks include smoothies, skimmed chocolate milk. Turkey on whole grain wrap with veggies, berries with yogurt and other carb snacks are a perfect choice.

Protein is needed to fuel working muscles. On a racing or game performance day, it is important to experiment during training to learn what functions well for you.

Pre Workout Meals

Pre Workout Meals
Photo By: Viktor/ CC BY

The body builds muscles and recovers within a day, not just at the gym. Smart snacks can provide the fuel needed for building muscles, burning fat and recovering it in the best way possible. Workouts last longer than an hour. So, you need to grab a snack forty-five to sixty minutes before and keep it balanced between 250 grams of carbs, half palmful protein, and quarter palmful fat.

#1 Yogurt Parfait

Take two percent or full-fat yogurt and granola and berries. This ensures that the yogurt can be spooned into a bowl and consumed before your morning workout.

#2 Smoothies

Swap out sugary juice for the best deal in terms of whole orange smoothie. Use protein powder to add the extra flavor. The Almond Coconut Mocha Protein Smoothie which combines both ingredients for the early workout you need. Caffeine perks you right before the workout or before the gym is reached. Additionally, there’s blueberry banana protein smoothie which combines blueberries, bananas, yogurt, ice and almond milk. Swap out the non-fat yogurt or go for a partial or full fat version providing the best way to fuel the workout and boost your fitness levels.

#3 Apple Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Classic apple and peanut butter combination provide the perfect blend using raisin and chia seeds. Grab an apple with the peanut butter or almond butter so you can chow down on the way to gym class.

#4 Mocha Protein Shake

Protein shakes can be tough, but when coffee and chocolate are involved, this can create the perfect combination. Add Stevia or natural sweetener for the best deals.

#6 Five Minute Protein Peanut Butter Balls

This DIY peanut butter ball can be baked ahead of time. Grab the bars, cut it out in thirds and roll into smaller balls for smaller bites.

#7 Hard Boiled Egg and Avo Toast

Avo toast combines with hard boiled eggs for the perfect pre-workout. Adding the protein makes this pre-workout snack the perfect idea for a lot of energy before a run or workout.

#8 Homemade Apple and Apricot Candy Bars

These DIY energy bars are perfect for stashing up a lot of nutrients in one go. This is a no-bake recipe which uses a food processor and some basic ingredients like apple and apricot. Store bought bars are equally effective with a 1 is to 1 or 2 is to 1 carb to protein ratio.

#9 Peanut Butter and Banana Chia Seed Toast

This wonderful combination is the perfect snack on the move. For a longer or extended workout, spread the wholewheat toast and add chia seeds to make the recipe incredible.

#10 Green Beans, Sweet Potato, and Prep Chicken

Getting in the fuel for the workout can be easy as heating up a portion of leftovers from the previous day. Try an easy combination such as chipotle chicken with green bean and sweet potato.

#11 No Bake Buckwheat Peanut Butter Bar

This buckwheat bar is a crunchy, heathy and protein rich version of Rice Krispie treats. It lasts up to weeks in a fridge and even longer in the freezer.

#12 Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Greek Yogurt Waffles

Protein-packed waffles are like a treat. They offer the perfect balance of nutrients to provide the energy you need to fuel your body for the long haul. These are also freezer friendly and you can stash the extras and pop them in the toaster at a later date.

#13 Turkey Avocado Wrap

This sounds like a meal, but it is the perfect idea for a pre-workout bite. This gluten-free wrap containing turkey wrapped around an avocado with some shredded carrot for an additional crunch makes for the perfect snack to store and use.

#14 Protein Packed Cauliflower Carrots and Hummus

Hummus and carrots with cauliflower base make for the perfect meal. You can try homemade or store-bought hummus and baby carrots at the store.

#15 Almond Butter Rice Cakes

These are ideal for those who want to steer clear of tests or opt for gluten-free foods while adding healthy carbs to power you through. Always keep a pack at hand.

#16 Baked Broccoli Cheese Pepper Omelette

Add the veggies for the perfect carbs and the eggs for the perfect protein. Opt for full-fat cheese and make the taste come alive.

#17 Caprese Avocado Toast

This an avocado/avo toast with cottage cheese for low calorie, high protein. Opt for wholegrain crackers instead of bread for the perfect experience.

#18 Almond Butter Banana and Coconut Energy Dish

Eggs and banana topped with apples, coconut, and almond butter make for the grain-free oatmeal you need to rev up your cardio workout.

#19 Sports Drinks

Store bought or homemade, energy drinks or sports drinks brimming with electrolytes like Gatorade can be the perfect way to get your body to sweat it out.

#20 Stuffed Avocados

These offer the perfect BLT snack if they are stuffed with the remains of this delicious leftover. Use Greek Yogurt instead of high fat for the same taste and more healthy nutrition.

Post Workout Snacks

Post Workout Snacks
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Refueling the body after a tough workout for 60 minutes or more can be a challenge. If you have opted to undergo strength training, even working out for lesser periods of time can be strenuous and deplete the energy store of the body. Look for up to 30-60 grams of carbs, 20 grams of protein and 5 to 8 grams fat. If your workout is not lengthy, don’t snack post the workout. You should only opt for a post workout meal if it is a long, high intensity or strength based workout. Glycogen replenishing is 30 to 60 minutes post the workout.

#21 Trail Mix

This is just perfect for mini snacks post the workout. You even get to choose what you eat in it. Whipping up a big batch using a dehydrator or trail mix is easy.

#22 Protein Pancakes

These are the perfect way to access the best protein and a sweet treat. The protein powder should be of your choice. It is a lot tastier to opt for this than opting for some store-bought protein bar.

#23 Potato Pie Protein Shake

Use sweet potatoes to make this wonderful shake. It has just the right protein mix with carb to offer the fuel your body needs to recover from the workout.

#24 Post Workout Banana Bites With Peanut Butter

This is a snack that is easy to prepare, simple and the perfect treat. Combining bananas, Greek yogurt and peanut butter offers the perfect combination of three major classes of nutrients namely protein, fat and carbs.

#25 Healthy Peanut and Caramel Protein Bar

This post-workout snack works like a candy bar that is super tasty. Make a whole batch in advance so you can store and eat them whenever you want. The peanut and the caramel add the glucose and protein boost you need after a heavy workout.

#26 Orange Mango Smoothie

This wonderful smoothie is the perfect vegan option, as it is the key because protein shakes use milk-based protein. This sweet combination offers the perfect taste without the artificial addition of sugar.

#27 Chicken Pasta with Onions, Tart Cherries, and Butternut Squash

Another thing that can be a wonderful post-workout snack is a leftover meal. This is one combination- you can try any other that combines protein with complex carbs.

#28 Avocado Tuna Salads

This is just the right blend of veggies and fish which can make for a great snack after the workout. Fiber-rich, it also contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids for the perfect meal.

#29 Egg and Veggie Sandwich

This is the right sandwich for a busy day post the workout. Wrap up the sandwich and combine it with greens like kale for the perfect snack after the workout.

#30 Post Workout Smoothie

Drinking greens like spinach, kale and collard is easy. The recipe also contains spinach, apples and bananas for the perfect shake.

#31 Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are a wonderful choice for vegan fitness fanatics. Add nut butter, banana and sea salt to make this the perfect way to combat loss of energy and sodium.

#32 Apple Cheese Crackers

The simpler recipe offers the better option. It keeps you full too. Apple cheese crackers are convenient to put together and add the perfect flavor to a tough workout.

#33 Spinach and Egg White Omelette

The protein contained in egg white can be combined with spinach to refuel the body after a sweet session. The recipe can be used to make smaller, snack-sized portions.

#34 Hard Boiled Eggs and Carrot Sticks With Nuts

This s the perfect snack for a healthy post-workout means of fueling your body. Eggs offer protein, veggies carbs, and nuts fat.

#35 Nut Butter Roll Up

Whether you like peanuts or almond, this is easy to make. Just spread the preferred nut butter on whole wheat wrap, with bananas and a dash of cinnamon.

#36 Banana Vanilla Orange Smoothie

If you are not chocolate or peanut butter type of person, this is the perfect choice. Banana and orange offer fruit power while vanilla adds an amazing flavor.

#37 Hummus + Pita Bread

This is another great choice. Use hummus and pita bread/ carrot or celery sticks. Choose just a few ingredients and don’t add any sugar.

#38 Sweet Potato And Avocado Scrambled Eggs

Sweet potato adds the carb, avocado the fat and eggs the protein to make this the perfect post-workout bite. Have it for pre-dinner, post-workout snacks.

#39 Chicken Hash

Choose the chicken hash if you want to help muscles to rebuild, Carbs are critical for energy and protein is ideal for muscle growth.

Different Types of Workout Snacks For Different Exercises

HIIT/High-intensity interval training

  • Pre-workout: Fruit + nut bar
Pre-workout: Fruit + nut bar
Photo By: Arya Zial/ CC BY

Bars filled with nuts and dried fruits are the perfect choice for a pre-HIIT workout. Why? Quite simply because they are rich in carbs for fueling the muscles and also brimming with protein, healthy fats, and rich fiber to digest slowly and keep the energy levels high. Choosing a bar with around 200 cal and 4-5 grams of fiber cum protein.

  • Post Workout: Quinoa, Veggies and Cooked Chicken

The snack squashes hunger post an intense workout. The last thing your muscles need is the starvation diet. Instead, take on the quinoa carb and restore the main source of energy for muscles. Antioxidant-rich veggies undo oxidative stress and protein from the chicken builds the muscles. Veggies also rejuvenate the body.

Strength Training

  • Pre workout: Low fat/Greek Yoghurt with Granola

Carbs are not just for aerobics experts. Carbs can be useful for those undergoing weight training additionally. Carbs stored in the muscle play a role in producing power in lifting heavy weights. Whey plus casein in Greek Yogurt is even better. This gives a blend of slow and fast digesting proteins. This builds your muscles and gives you the energy you need for working out.

  • Post workout: Cherry smoothie with whey and ginger with protein

Studies indicate ginger cum tart cherry liquid lower inflammation and alleviate muscle soreness post the workout. More than thirty grams of whey-protein provide the right blend of amino acids to ensure synthesis of protein and muscle growth.


  • Pre-workout: Smoothie with fruit, milk or yogurt

This is a light and sweet option. The fruit helps in managing those tough yoga poses by providing glucose and carb to muscles and brains so the body’s glycogen levels don’t dip. The chilled smoothie cools the body to ensure a fresh feeling.

  • Post workout: Orange + boiled egg

Rich in potassium and water, orange is a great option. Rehydrate quickly after heavy perspiration. The carbs in the fruit restore energy while egg protein helps in preparing muscles. Eggs are also omega 3 essential fatty acid enriched and offer the best way to undo the inflammation caused post exercise.

Cross Fit

  • Pre-workout: Beat/Peach and Nectarine salad

Beets increase the extent of nitric oxide which causes blood vessels dilation and accommodates an amazing flow of blood to the hard-working muscles. Peaches and/or nectarines add more carbs for higher energy levels.

  • Post workout: Omelette with eggs and onions, red bell peppers and a bowl of cut pineapple

Eggs offer food that is high on leucine. This synthesizes the protein which is the basic building blocks of muscles. Calories remain under control. Red bell pepper rich in Vitamin C, are essential for getting the strength you need to crush the workout. Pineapple in the salads contains bromelain which lowers bodily inflammation.


  • Pre Workout: Wholewheat toast and jam

Light, easily digestible carb snacks work a few hours just before a run whether its downhill, uphill or hurdles. Carbs can be employed for any activity. The jam adds the glucose you need to pump your body.

  • Post Workout: Non-fat/low-fat chocolate milk

The post-workout energy meal is based on the level of training. Chocolate milk works for triple duty. It offers rehydration, provides protein to aid and undo the harm to muscle fibers and sugar to restore the depleting glycogen levels. Soymilk is a high protein addition.


  • Pre-workout: Energy bar

Such an energy bar typically contains 200 calories, based on the miles one is running and 5 grams of protein to sustain energy. Sugar should be given a miss though. Try sugar-free snacks.

  • Post-workout: Low-fat Chocolate Milk With Wholegrain Pretzels

This is also a great choice. The chocolate milk restores glycogen levels and sodium lost through sweating is replenished through this workout snack.


  • Pre-workout: Half cup dried oats, with almond butter

Pump out the reps you need with carbs for energy from the oatmeal. A dash of butter offers satiation and healthy fats. The butter is also a source of magnesium for fending off the nutrient depletion.

  • Post workout: Scrambled tofu

The tofu scramble is made from organic tofu. Carrots and yellow bell peppers with sesame oil offers the perfect post-workout snack in addition. Toss this tofu protein dish and barre incorporates resistance training, so you need the boost.


Enjoy these delicious pre and post workout meals and snacks to fuel your body well in preparation for the workout and the recovery post this. From long distance running to barre, pilates, spirits, yoga, cross fit, strength training and HIIT, the food you put into your body can give you the result you need when it comes to working out. So stay healthy and fit using these amazing snacks to fuel an awesome workout.

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