Committing to workout regularly isn’t always an easy task, especially for those with packed schedules. This could mean waking up earlier to fit in a lift, or going later in the evening after work. Oftentimes, this also means working out on an empty stomach.
While it doesn’t hinder muscle growth, going with less fuel than you need to exercise can leave you feeling weak, dizzy, and fatigued. In fact, a study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has shown that skipping breakfast tends to reduce performance in resistance workouts. Additionally, if your goal is to bulk, then skipping meals can be a big roadblock to your fitness goals.
If your workout sessions leave your meal schedule in disarray, then a pre- or post-workout snack is the perfect solution for you. Our muscles primarily rely on glucose for fuel, which is stored in our bodies as glycogen. When we work out, we deplete our glycogen stores, which can lead to fatigue and muscle breakdown. By consuming a snack before and after exercise, we can replenish our glycogen stores, prevent muscle breakdown, and promote muscle growth.
Here are a few staples gym-goers swear by that you can find in their bags:
- Banana with Peanut Butter: Bananas are an excellent source of fast-acting carbohydrates that can provide a quick energy boost before a workout. Adding peanut butter to the mix can provide an extra dose of protein and healthy fats, which can help keep you feeling full and energized without feeling bloated during your workout.
- Greek Yogurt with Berries: Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and probiotics, helping you hit that protein intake quota while promoting better gut health. Adding some berries to your yogurt can provide a quick source of carbohydrates, which can help fuel your workout.
- Whole Grain Toast with Avocado: Whole grain toast provides complex carbohydrates that can provide sustained energy during your workout. If you’re feeling fancy, sliced avocado goes really well on top of toast for a serving of healthy fats to keep your stomach satiated for longer.
- Chocolate Milk: Believe it or not, chocolate milk stands as a popular post-workout snack. It provides a mix of carbohydrates and protein, which can help replenish glycogen stores and aid in muscle recovery. It’s also a versatile ingredient for a lot of protein-rich snacks, which is something you can explore further with more time on your hands.
- Protein Shake: Protein shakes are a convenient way to get the protein your body needs after a workout. There are many variations, with varying protein content per serving, but many gym-goers opt for whey protein.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats, making them an egg-cellent snack option. They’re great no matter how you serve them, but hard-boiled eggs are easy to prepare and can be eaten on the go. If you need a kick of flavor, you can try drizzling your eggs with olive oil, season with pepper and salt, or even use chopped herbs.
Snack Smarter for Better Results
Fitting your workouts into a hectic schedule is hard enough on its own, but fueling your body with the proper nutrition to perform and grow shouldn’t make it harder.
Granted, everyone wants something different from their workouts. There are weight-loss benefits to fasted cardio, and you might need more than just a snack if you’re working with extreme weights for strength training. If you want to find out how you can optimize your nutrition for your unique fitness goals, then a CircleDNA test can help you find out more about how your body responds to different types of diets and workouts.
A simple at-home saliva collection swab is all you need to receive genetic reports on your nutrition profile and optimal exercise types, among hundreds of other health insights. Finding the right workout snacks is just the tip of the iceberg.