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Eat Your Way to Fitness: How to Eat to Fuel Your Workout

08th September 2013
img: Tobyotter used under cc by 2.0

When you work out regularly, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right nutrition at just the right times so your body can work at top levels and recover from your workouts efficiently.

Aim to eat a snack of about 300-400 calories, about 60 minutes before your workout. Your snack should be a mix of protein and carbohydrates, in the most whole, close-to-natural form possible.

Not sure what to eat before a workout? We’ve compiled some great snacks below.

turtle eating apple

img: danbri, used under cc by 2.0



Two great things that are great together: Fruit and nut butter

If you can keep in mind this simple combination of fruit with some kind of nut butter, you’ve got a great base for a snack with endless possibilities. Try different combinations—you might surprise yourself with a new favorite.

Some of our top picks:

  • Apple and peanut butter (classic!)
  • Banana and cashew butter
  • Grapes and almond butter
  • Pineapple and macadamia nut butter
  • Dates and pecan butter – tastes like pecan pie!
  • Plums with walnut butter
  • Chocolate with hazelnut butter

OK, we kind of cheated on that last one. Chocolate comes from the cacao bean, which comes from a plant—but we can’t quite call chocolate a fruit. As an occasional indulgence, however, this sweet-and-salty treat won’t kill your workout efforts. Plus, chocolate has more antioxidants than many other choices. Just be sure to choose at least 70% dark, and stick to an ounce at a time.

Grab your blender: Smoothies

Smoothies are a great pre-workout snack because they’re easily digested and you can really pack in the nutrients with a variety of fruits and greens. This is another case of experimentation yielding yummy results, so grab your blender and whatever’s in your fridge and try a new blend.

Recipes to try:

  • Spinach, blueberries, blackberries, and orange juice
  • Kale, almond milk, flax, banana, cinnamon, pumpkin puree
  • Almond milk, carrot, spinach, berries, chia seeds
  • Swiss chard, raspberries, pineapple, peaches, mint, orange juice
  • Kale, banana, coconut milk, flax, honey
image of smooties

Smoothies!! Img: zoetnet, used under cc by 2.0

Did you flinch at any of those ingredients? Don’t worry if you put things in your smoothie that you wouldn’t eat normally. That’s what’s so great about smoothies—you get the nutrition of, say, kale, without actually having to chow down on a head of leafy greens. The best recipes disguise the more savory flavors with sweetness, so even if they don’t look appealing, they taste delicious.

Smoothie tips

Blend liquids first, then add other ingredients, one at a time with small pieces.

Add ice at the end, if desired. Start with 2 or 3 cubes and add more to your liking.

Play with different textures. Some people like a more icy, gritty smoothie, while some people like their smoothies more liquid. Try adding a little crunch with pomegranate seeds or chia seeds, or add nut butter toward the end of your blending to get an occasional protein punch to your tongue.

Post workout

You build muscle by tearing and repairing the muscle you have already, but your muscles can’t repair themselves without the proper fuel. Be sure to enjoy one of these snacks again within 30 minutes of your workout to help your body recover and heal.

Have a favorite pre- or post-workout snack? How do you like your smoothies? Let us know in the comments.




by Kimberly Paine

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