Dear Cassey: What should I eat before and after I workout?

Hi Cassey,

I am doing your workouts and seeing amazing results! However, I have a few questions about eating before and after workouts.

When do you eat before a workout and what do you eat? I used to workout as soon as I woke up on an empty stomach with just water, but I’ve read that you need to take in something light.

If I eat before a morning workout, does that count as breakfast? Or can I have proper breakfast after? For example, today I gobbled down a half boiled egg and a banana. Is that okay?

Thank you! 

Working on the Details

blogilates 90 day journey pb j smoothie bowl in teal bowl with fresh fruit

Hey Working on the Details!

I’m so happy to hear that you’re seeing results! And you’re putting in the work to keep learning and improving!! WOOHOO!!!

The diet part of a fitness journey is definitely the most confusing part (in my opinion at least!) I used to have so many of the same questions: should I eat before a workout? How long before a workout?! And what’s the best thing to eat?!

It can get really stressful trying to plan and figure it all out. But reaching out for support like you are right now and doing lots of research is how I finally figured it out.

Here’s the best thing I learned though: for the most part, it’s all about what works best for YOU. Some people prefer to workout in a “fasted” state (in other words, early in the morning with no food before). Some people NEED to eat something before a workout. Honestly, it’s totally fine to workout before you eat as long as you feel good! If you’re feeling like you don’t have much energy during your workout, then having something beforehand might be helpful.

If I’m working out later in the day, I usually keep my pre-workout snacks small and simple so it’s light on my stomach but will still give me energy. Something like a smoothie or a banana with a little peanut butter if I’ll be working out within an hour. You could also grab something like nuts, a hard-boiled egg, slice of deli meat, or Greek yogurt.

And yep, you should definitely eat after your workout! Even if you had a snack before your workout. I always try to replenish 3 things after a workout (especially a hard one):

  1. WATER
  2. Carbs
  3. Protein

Some examples are things like…

  • Eggs with a starchy veggie like sweet potato or fruit
  • Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts
  • Veggie omelet with fruit
  • Toast with peanut butter and banana
  • A high-protein smoothie

As for the snack you mentioned above, a boiled egg and banana is also great! I’d just go for more than half of an egg so you can make sure you’re getting plenty of protein 🙂

I try to eat as soon as I can, but I know sometimes that’s tough. If you’re not going to be able to eat a meal within the hour, at least try to have a snack! And hydrate hydrate hydrate!

I hope this is helpful! Planning your pre and post-workout food can make a really big difference in how you feel during your workout, and your results later on! Experimenting to find what is easiest for you and makes you feel the best is all part of the journey.

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

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