The Best Pre- and Post-Workout Meals

A great workout isn’t just about the reps you put in at the gym. The foods you eat before and after you exercise can help you meet your fitness goals. Here, certified trainer and nutritionist Franci Cohen reveals the foods that will help you get the most out of your workouts.

The Best Pre- and Post-Workout Meals

There’s no arguing the benefits of regular exercise: Not only does it help you maintain a healthy weight and lift your energy levels, it also helps to boost good cholesterol levels and mitigate your risk of getting type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

To keep your body fueled for exercise, it’s essential to eat a healthful diet full of nutritious foods that contain lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. And when you eat these foods is just as important, as the right foods will give you the strength and energy you need during your workout and will also help you recover afterwards.


To help you pinpoint the best foods for pre- and post-workout, we turned to Franci Cohen, an NYC-based certified fitness trainer and nutritionist. According to Cohen, navigating the pre-workout fuel-fixes is simpler than you think. “There is no ‘magic food,’ but any combination of simple and complex carbs work best to provide a steady stream of continuous energy to last throughout your entire workout.” Cohen’s post-workout meals contain lean protein, complex carbohydrates and some healthy fats. Here are her favorite foods to eat before and after working out.

Provided by Dr. Oz The Good Life Magazine

A Note About Timing

If you're eating a full meal before working out, it is best to wait 2 to 3 hours before heading out to the gym, says Cohen. “Eating too close to your workout time can often make you sluggish, and your energy output may be compromised due to stomach discomfort. A small snack of 150 to 200 calories an hour before your workout will do the trick!” Afterwards, Cohen says, be sure to eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours. “Your focus should be on helping the muscles recover and replacing their glycogen stores.”

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