Q&A: Pre-Workout Snack Vs. Post-Workout Shake
Q: Is a pre-workout snack or a post-workout shake more important?
A: To build strength, you need to fuel your body before you train and after your session.
If you eat before you train, you'll be able to train at a higher intensity, and for more time. Reach for your pre-workout snack about 30 minutes to an hour before you hit the gym. Here are a few options that pack the nutrients your body needs:
- One slice of whole wheat toast with one tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- Fat-free yogurt with 1/2 cup of Kashi cereal
- Nutrition bar of your choice
- Pre-workout shooter made with 1/2 scoop of whey protein and 8 ounces of 100% fruit juice or a sports drink
If you miss your pre-workout meal, make sure you eat after you train. This is the most important part of performance nutrition. That's because when you train, you deplete your energy stores, breaking down muscle and dehydrating your body. To help your body recover from the stress of exercise, you need a post-workout meal—and you need it fast.
By eating within 30 minutes of the end of your training session, you trigger your body out of a state of breakdown and into a state of recovery. This snack should consist of 15-30 grams of protein and 30-90 grams of carbohydrates. Shoot for a ratio of 2:1 or 4:1 carbs to protein.
- Shakes are best because they contain protein that your body can easily digest, so it travels faster to your muscles.
- Chocolate milk
- Meal that balances 4 ounces of protein with a large helping of carbohydrates
About The Author
Amanda Carlson-Phillips – Amanda Carlson-Phillips is the vice president of nutrition and research at Athletes' Performance. As a registered dietitian, she has provided educational seminars and individual counseling to a variety of professional and elite sports organizations.