Fitness and Health

Fitness and health go hand in hand, and this section of our health library is devoted to exploring the relationship between these two very important aspects of life.

Eating Healthy Before, during and After Your Regular Exercise Routine can Leave a Lasting Impression

While exercise is a very important part to losing weight and getting back into good health, the other half of the equation is the right diet.


Eating healthy paired with regular exercise is the best way to successfully lose weight. You’re not just eating healthy and exercising for the short term, you’re creating a healthy lifestyle that’s not only going to make you feel amazing—both mentally and physically—but it will also help you keep the pounds off…for good. This might seem like a breeze and you may be thinking, “Okay, I’ll just eat good food and work out. Simple.” But it’s not that simple. Knowing the right food to eat before, during and after you hit the gym is trickier than it sounds.

Breakfast packs a punch as the most important meal of the day, or does it?

A new study in The Journal of Physiology, from Eating Well says that it may be smarter to eat breakfast AFTER your morning workout and here’s why: during the six-week study, participants who ate a high-calorie, high-fat breakfast before hitting the gym packed on an average of three pounds, while the after-workout eaters gained almost no weight, but ate the same food.

Exercise elevates levels of the fat-burning hormone adrenalin, but when you work out after eating healthy, the insulin your body releases to help you digest the food blunts the spike in adrenalin and you burn less fat when you exercise.

But what if you’re absolutely starving? No problem. You don’t need to starve yourself. Try splitting up your breakfast and eat a little bit before you exercise and some more when you get back from your work out.  

If you must eat breakfast before your morning workout, try whole wheat toast with sliced banana and cinnamon. It’s super easy to digest, the fruit adds energy and it’s full of good carbs. You could also try oatmeal with fresh fruit or a refreshingly delicious fruit smoothie. Also, make sure you don’t try anything new before you workout in the morning. It may not sit well and it could ruin your morning workout. No one wants that!

What to snack on before you exercise during the day?

Remember to eat your pre-workout snacks 1 to 1.5 hours before you exercise. Portion size is important and should be kept around 4 ounces. Also, make sure you are not dehydrated because that will keep you from seeing results. Some options for eating healthy before your workout, according to Fox News, include: caffeine, almonds or avocados. These all trigger dopamine release which is associated with motivation, drive, interest and muscle control. Always avoid carbs and added sugars. Another good option for eating healthy before you exercise is greek yogurt and trail mix. It’s easy on your stomach and it’s just enough to rev up your body for your workout. Smoothies, fresh fruit, whole-grain crackers with peanut butter and granola bars are also a good choice.

What to eat during your workout?

If you feel the hunger monster rearing its ugly head in the middle of your workout, try a sports drink, small portions of fresh fruit like a banana or orange slices, or sip slowly on a small fruit smoothie, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What to snack on after your workout?

Protein is king. Consuming about 20 grams of protein post-workout may actually increase muscle building—regardless of age. Try having a couple of eggs and a glass of milk or a salmon salad sandwich for a delicious source of protein. Leafy greens are also a good choice to help speed up muscle recovery. Try spinach, kale, cucumbers, celery or other greens.

What to eat if you’re a lunch time exerciser?

A delicious Tuna Salad is a good choice because tuna is low in calories and high in protein and carbs. Use hummus instead of mayo or mustard—it’s more flavorful and much better for you. It’s also high in fiber. Also, slip in a little spinach for its many health benefits.

Eating a healthy dinner after you exercise

After you workout, your body will be in recovery mode so eating healthy is especially important. This means that you should eat a nutrient dense meal. Try grilled chicken with mixed vegetables. The lean protein and carbohydrates in the chicken with fill you up without making you feel bloated. Salmon and sweet potatoes are a delicious and healthy choice. This meal will help regulate insulin levels and give you joint support.

Having healthy meals available all of the time

If you’re looking for something fast and convenient without the hassle of going to the grocery store, bistroMD offers a diet delivery program that can help you develop healthy eating habits and lose weight.

We cook with the freshest ingredients and have over 200 recipes and a customizable menu so you’re sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.

Pair our program with regular exercise and you'll see the pounds drop in a few weeks! And it's super easy too—just give it a quick zap in the microwave.

We have a men and a women’s program with the option to receive five-or-seven-days’ worth of healthy meals delivered to your door. The seven day option comes with the My Night feature, your one night a week to just kick back and relax.

The two programs range from $130-$160 and EATS, our essential and tasty snacks are just $1.50 per snack. Women receive two snacks per day and men receive three snacks per day.

Written By bistroMD Team. Published on June 26, 2013. Updated on June 19, 2019.


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