Knowing what to eat and when is pretty important when it comes to strength training. Often, strength workouts tend to challenge the body, demanding a level of physical performance not usually required of most of us in our daily lives. Strenuous exercise like distance running and weight lifting can leave us feeling sore and depleted without the proper nutrition. But with the right pre- and post-workout protein fuel, training sessions can leave you feeling energized, strong, and ready to take on the rest of the day.

Timing is half the battle. Have you ever eaten a hearty breakfast before hitting the gym, going for a run, or stretching out in a hot yoga class only to feel utterly weighed down and lethargic? This discomfort is twofold. First, going light on your pre-workout snack or meal is best to keep your belly from feeling like a lead brick. Second, eating a small meal 30-40 minutes before beginning your training session will give your body enough time to begin digesting while also providing you with the fuel you need for your workout. An optimal pre-workout snack should be a simple combination of protein and carbohydrates to give you energy for now and to fuel your body’s recovery process later.

30 to 40 minutes before your workout, try some of these simple snacks or light meals:

  1. Orgain organic grass fed protein shake or organic and plant based protein!
  2. Handful of almonds and a banana
  3. Organic protein bar
  4. Whole wheat toast with almond butter and sliced apple or hummus and veggies
  5. Overnight protein oats

Strength training requires protein to build muscle but also to repair muscle afterwards to reduce soreness and improve performance. Following a training session, make sure you get hydrated, drinking water throughout the day and evening to ensure you replace water lost via sweat and protein absorption. Your post workout snack or meal should be high in protein and carbohydrates but this time you can incorporate more fibrous fruits and veggies since you won’t be trying to digest kale salad while doing a serious abdominal workout! Eat your post workout snack or meal no later than an hour after your training session so your body has what it needs to begin the recovery process.

Within an hour afterwards, try these foods to ease the recovery process and keep you feeling great as the day goes on:

  1. Roasted root vegetable buddha bowl, topped with a fried egg for non-vegans
  2. Protein hummus, veggies, cheese, and whole wheat pita
  3. Chocolate and peanut butter post workout protein smoothie, also try berry blast!
  4. Chocolate Protein pancakes
  5. Orgain Simple bar and unsweetened coconut water