after joining classpass a little over 1.5 years ago, i’ve developed somewhat of a skincare regimen before and after a workout. but before we get into that, i want to start with what to eat pre- and post-workout because let’s be real, food comes first if you’re working out your body, and doubly, a lot of your skin health is a result of what you eat.
since healthy cooking (and eating) isn't necessarily my forté, i tapped into my friend bobby, who just became a registered dietitian (yay!), for some easy-to-remember nutrition tips to keep in mind before and after a cardio-focused or strength training workout. food photos and recipes shown below are all by my girl stephanie of the healthy hour.
* note: my personal goal in working out has been to increase overall strength and improved energy levels (former smoker, hullo). it’s important to note that these tips are not focused on weight loss or, conversely, bulking up. nothing wrong with those goals—i just wanted a holistic approach that focuses on healthy fuel and efficient replenishment.
Pre-Workout (30min–1hr prior)
for cardio, fuel yourself with carbs. your muscles use carbs (glucose) as fuel during cardio-focused workouts.
suggestion: you can’t go wrong with fresh fruit, like a banana or a handful of grapes.
for strength training, fuel yourself with carbs + a little protein
we already know that carbs are fuel for our muscles, but after a strength training workout, they’ll crave protein. enjoying a mix of both will ensure they're off to a smooth start.
suggestion: fresh fruit like a banana or apple (carbs) and a scoop of greek yogurt (protein) is a winning combo.
keep in mind:
not all carbs and proteins are created equal: you want pre-workout eats to digest quickly. foods that slow down digestion—anything with too much fiber, protein or fat—can increase the likelihood of cramps. go for simple carbs and a petite portion of protein for a cramp-free workout sesh.
have a tall glass of water. and maybe a few sips of coffee pre-cardio.
Don’t wait until you sweat to hydrate your body. And unless you’re marathon training, there’s no need to reach for a sports drink. Plain ‘ol water should do the trick.
Carb workout Bonus: If you’re feeling low on energy (even after your pre-workout snack), enjoy some coffee or caffeinated tea. Caffeine is thought to improve endurance and reduce fatigue, especially during cardio-heavy exercise.
But heads up: caffeine can also act as a diuretic (translation: dehydrates your body). Be sure to balance your caffeinated drink with plenty of water.
Bobby Maknoon, RD
Post-Workout (within an hour or so)
EAT: Treat your body to real food.
“Nature-designed foods are your body’s best friend.”
use the plate method to craft your post-workout meal, whether eating at home or dining out.
one-quarter: complex carbs to help replenish the energy bank
one-quarter: lean protein to help repair the muscles
half: non-starchy veggies to nourish everything from skin to bones
if it’ll be longer than an hour until your next meal, have a snack to hold you over.
greek yogurt parfait with fresh berries
two hardboiled eggs and whole-wheat crackers
slice of whole-wheat bread with nut butter
DRINK UP: Hydrate in, hydrate out.
the more you sweat, the more water you should drink to replenish your body.
you can judge by checking the color of your urine. the goal color is a light lemonade-esque hue. if it errs on the side of apple juice, reach for an extra glass or two.