Ask A Coach: Pre- and Post-Run Meals
Last week, we received questions about pre- and post-run nutrition. Coach Leanne answer below. Send your running questions to us!
Hi! I wondered what should I eat before a STRIDE workout (and how long before) and what should I eat after?
In an ideal world, yes, we would recommend everyone have a light, healthy snack 60-90 minutes prior to your workout. However, when it comes to morning workouts, that’s not always practical or even necessary.
When it comes to eating before your morning workout, here is what I recommend (assuming your workout is 60 minutes or shorter - different rules apply when we’re talking about Ultra Run classes):
— Only make yourself eat if you’re hungry or if you want to eat. Studies have found that the old “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” adage isn’t necessarily true. Some people are breakfast people and some people aren’t. Unless you are hungry, there is not strong evidence that you should force yourself to eat. So, if you find you don’t mind working out on an empty stomach, and you typically eat a good dinner the night before, I’d say you’re ok to keep doing that.
— If you do find it helpful to eat something before your workout, think about eating something light in calories, low-fat and easy to digest up to 60 minutes before your workout. Eating a huge bowl of oatmeal with extra fiber before a run will slow you down because your body will have to spend so much time digesting while also running. A mix of carbohydrates, protein and potassium is a good bet. Here are some options for pre-workout snacks:
- A small banana
- 6 oz. greek yogurt with berries
- 1 cup of low-fiber cereal with skim or almond milk
- Half of a breakfast bar (Cliff / Kind bar / Think Thin Protein / Macrobar)
- Piece of toast with 1 tblsp nut butter
Post workout nutrition is where we get a bit more insistent on eating the right thing. After intense workouts lasting 45minutes or longer, you’ll want to eat something that has up to 30g carbohydrates and at least 15grams of protein. Here are some ideas for post-workout meals
- 1 cup oatmeal with handful of almonds + hemp shells
- Protein bar (I like Rise, ThinkThin, and Quest)
- Protein shake
- 2 eggs + whole grain english muffin
- 1 cup roasted sweet potato cubes with 2 eggs or 4 oz. chicken
- 1 cup greek yogurt + 1/2 cup granola
When it comes to stocking your fridge, I always recommend greek yogurt, low-sugar fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, whole grains and lots of lean proteins. If your ultimate goal is to lose weight, there is one way to do it - and that’s to consume less calories than you burn each day. If you feel like your workouts are better when you eat beforehand, have a low-calorie, low-fiber snack when you wake up. If you feel fine workout out without a meal, just make sure you eat a balanced dinner the night before. And either way, plan to eat a mix of healthy carbs and protein soon after your workouts so that your muscles can recover and repair. I hope this helps shed some light on pre- and post-workout nutrition!
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