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‎What to Eat for the Way You Work Out

‎What to Eat for the Way You Work Out

Not all workouts are fueled by the same foods

Munching on an apple and peanut butter? Energy bar? Coconut water? Nothing? Whatever your workout preference, be it a Spinning class, yoga, or Zumba, it’s essential that your body be primed for each specific pursuit. But what, exactly, should you eat before, after, and during a workout?

How Should You Fuel?

Munching on an apple and peanut butter? Energy bar? Coconut water? Nothing? Whatever your workout preference, be it a Spinning class, yoga, or Zumba, it’s essential that your body be primed for each specific pursuit. But what, exactly, should you eat before, after, and during a workout?

Akt InMotion

“An hour and a half before you work out, eat a light meal or snack with a combination of carbs and proteins — a small bowl of oatmeal with raisins and walnuts, for example. Then, drink coffee 15 to 30 minutes before your workout to rev up your heart rate. In the 45 minutes after your work out, try a healthy protein shake with berries, hemp or whey protein, almond milk, and ice, or a healthy salad with chicken, veggies, extra-virgin olive oil, and lemon juice.”

- Anna Kaiser, celebrity trainer and founder of AKT InMotion

Bootcamp

“Bootcamp is a very intense cardio and weight workout. I have to be careful what I eat before, or I end up feeling nauseous. Pre-workout, I grab half a banana and a cup of coffee. The combination of the natural sugar and caffeine give me the kick I need for an intense workout. Then I come home and have a green smoothie: coconut water, ice, the other half of banana, two scoops of my favorite protein powder, one tablespoon flax or chia seeds, cinnamon, turmeric, and two handfuls of greens (I rotate between collards, chard, kale, and spinach). This smoothie offers a balance of protein, healthy carbs, fiber, and essential fatty acids.”

- Tracee Gluhaich, personal trainer

Hiking

Day hikes are usually long enough that calories are needed during the activity, not just before and after. I like to eat a small snack of 300 to 400 calories every two to two-and-a-half hours, depending on the terrain and pace — on fast hikes with big vertical gain, I eat more food and more often; on slower hikes on flatter terrain, my body demands fewer calories. Unlike other endurance sports, like running and cycling, gastrointestinal distress while hiking is uncommon. If you’re breathing really hard or your legs are cramping up, you're probably hiking too fast. By virtue of it being a less intense exercise, less-digestible foods are possible. I know that standard hiking food includes energy bars and G.O.R.P. (trail mix), but I find it far more satisfying to bring a turkey sandwich, chocolate chip cookies, and an avocado with corn nuts.”

- Andrew Skurka, professional backpacker

Pilates

"Pilates is a centering and meditative technique that creates balance in the body. It restores calm to the nervous system in a way that improves metabolism, immunity, and digestion. I always aim to eat something equally balancing before and after to help with this positive change. Before Pilates, I like to eat a red apple or a salad of shaved raw organic Brussels sprouts and red apple. Apples have pectin, which help with stomach acidity and blood insulin levels, and Brussels sprouts are extremely rich in vitamins and minerals. After, I like to nourish and hydrate with a mini LoveGrace Beauty Elixir or a LuliTonix blend."

- Erika Bloom, founder and owner of Erika Bloom Pilates

REV4 Workout

“REV4 was designed to change your body fast with zero equipment. It’s a functional fitness program that focuses on progression and short segments of specific exercises at high intensity levels. Because my workouts are body weight-based, they involve that you use your own body as a form of resistance, which requires fuel and energy. It’s so important to listen to your body before your workout. I am a huge fan of real, natural, whole foods whenever possible. But that's not always enough before or after a workout, which is why I'm a firm believer in a pre- and post-workout meal. For me, this means a scoop of a natural whey protein powder, mixed with water or coconut water and a piece of fruit. I prefer whey because it's fast-absorbing and easy to digest. I suggest a piece of fruit containing fructose (apples, oranges, or peaches, for example) as fructose helps with muscle development and gives you energy. I never eat fats directly before or after a workout because I don't want to slow down the absorption of the sugar and protein pre-workout.”

- Natalie Jill, creator of the Rev4 Bodyweight Workout DVD

Running

"Rigorous running with food in your stomach can be unsettling. Ever since my training became serious, I never ate before my runs or speed workouts. If I ever did eat, it seemed to upset my stomach. At least three hours before my races, I eat easy-to-digest foods like a sweet potato and poached eggs, or yogurt and a banana. Shortly after every workout I get extremely hungry and am always prepared with a solid snack packed in snap-tight glass containers. A few examples: brown rice, raw salmon, yellow sweet potatoes, basil, olive oil, and sea salt; boiled beets, roasted squash, lentils, raw yellowtail, avocado oil, walnuts, and black salt and parsley; and boiled corn kernels, black beans, parsley, cilantro, boiled and shredded organic chicken or raw red tuna, sesame seed oil, shredded yellow peppers, cauliflower and shredded lettuce."

- Michael Stember, brand ambassador of Mile High Run Club and former national U.S.A. champion, Stanford track and field captain, and member of the U.S.A. Olympic Team.

SoulCycle

“SoulCycle is a 45-minute indoor cycling workout. Big sweat and high intensity make up our unique workout experience, and it’s super-important to fuel and refuel your body right. There is no real science to figuring out what works best for your body; it takes a bit of trial and error to see what you need to gear up for and replenish from a SoulCycle class. Every body and each day is different, so it’s most important to be in tune with what your body needs at any given moment.

Morning classes require different nutrition and energy than evening classes. That said, I believe a banana is a perfect pre-SoulCycle snack. They’re a powerhouse of energy (usable sugars), fiber (which keeps you full), and potassium (which you need for good muscle function). They are easily digestible and a great on-the-go food. Post-SoulCycle, you’ll need some protein and carbs. I usually go for a protein smoothie with nut butter, fruit, vegan protein powder, some chia seeds, and a pinch of cinnamon. When I have a bit more time, I’ll eateggs (organic and cage-free, of course) with a side of avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, and maybe a piece of sprouted grain toast or a bit of fresh fruit. No matter what you choose, it should be comprised of whole, unprocessed foods! Make sure it makes you feel good and energized, and drink lots of water before, throughout, and after your class.”

- Eve Kessner, SoulCycle instructor

Spinning

“As an indoor cycling instructor for the past 6 years, it's taken me some time to figure out what adequately fuels me pre-workout and helps me recover post.

Through trial and error I’ve discovered snacking on something light before I teach — a piece of fruit, vegetables and hummus or a handful of almonds — keeps me full, focused and energized for the class ahead.

Staying hydrated is also an essential component of having an effective spin class — because, let’s face it, you're going to be sweating … a lot. I will typically drink diluted coconut water or Spark before and during class for extra hydration.

Post-indoor cycling class it’s all about replenishing your body with nutrient-dense foods. I’ll make myself a colorful salad overflowing with starchy vegetables, crunchy radishes and some sort of lean protein.

However you choose to recover, remember to drink plenty of water. You're losing a lot throughout the workout so it’s important to replenish your cells!”

- Caroline Earle, trainer and author of The Trendy Trainer

Swimming

“For a good swim workout, you want to avoid big meals before your swim and rehydrate and get carbs and protein in your system afterwards. Pre-workout meals should consist of simple energy-producing foods like apples or bananas, the workout classic. For something more substantial, add some natural peanut butter to your apple, or even make a peanut butter and banana sandwich on some whole grain bread. You don't realize how much you sweat when you swim, but most pools are kept around 86 degrees. Imagine running around a track when it's almost 90 degrees outside. One of the best post-workout recovery drinks you can have is, surprisingly, chocolate milk. It has less sugar and more natural ingredients than Gatorade. It also has high water content and an added dose of protein to help with muscle recovery, in addition to a healthy dose of vitamins. Combine that with a meal consisting of lean protein and natural carbs, like chicken breast over rice, and be sure to drink plenty of water. If chocolate milk isn’t your style, pour out half your Gatorade and replace the contents with water to cut into the extraordinarily high sugar content.”

- Ben Slovek, Penguin City aquatic director and former competitive swimmer

Yoga

Yoga is about purifying your body and moving in a way that not only tones and stretches you, but makes you feel happy and healthy. The best foods for yoga are whole grains, vegetables, unprocessed proteins, and fruits. Before a yoga class, hydration is key, so drink a lot of water. If you feel dehydrated, coconut water is a great go-to beverage. I often eat a piece of fruit or a whole grain bar, like the 2 Degrees bars or the Health Warrior chia bars. They are small and low in calories, but pack a punch. You don't want to exercise on a full stomach. After yoga, a complete meal is in order. You can't go wrong with a plate of quinoa (or another whole grain), steamed leafy greens, squash or sweet potato, and a protein, such as beans, tofu, fish, or tempeh. I love salad dressings, too: try Organicville Foods or a local, whole-foods ingredient dressing. When in doubt, go Mediterranean with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Ease and quality ingredients are key!”

- Hilaria Baldwin, yoga instructor and fitness and wellness expert

Zumba

Stefano Ember/Shutterstock

“Since Zumba is a high-intensity cardio class, make sure to hydrate with plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. I recommend eating a small snack of complex carbs and protein that your body can burn off for energy easily. An apple, berries, or a banana paired with nut butter or a handful of nuts are a perfect protein combination. Eat this snack about two hours before class so you avoid getting cramps while moving. A green juice is also a great energy booster and will provide an immediate surge of vitamins, nutrients, and energy to your bloodstream. After class, you have a 45-minute window to replace your glycogen stores and refuel your muscles and body (you will also burn off these calories easier than if you eat much later after your workout). I recommend a hearty combination of complex carbs and protein, like a salad with dark leafy greens, unlimited vegetables, and grass-fed chicken or beef, or a quinoa bowl with root vegetables such as sweet potatoes.”

- Jamie Forward, certified holistic health coach and Zumba instructor


What Makes Banana The Ideal Pre-Workout Food: 3 Delicious and Healthy Banana Recipes

If you are into gymming or are even remotely aware about the world of fitness you may have be aware of the idea of pre work-out and after workout snack. The logic is simple. Think of yourself as a car or a machine. Naturally, before any operation you would require a minimum amount of fuel to make sure it doesn't break down midway through. Your body is not very different in a way, it is very essential to fuel your body with the right kind of nutrition to make sure there is no major injury or energy breakdown mid-way through the drill. According to experts, working out on an empty stomach may do more harm than good. Dieting and fitness is not about starving yourself and doing so could be the biggest blunder for your overall health. Hitting the gym without adequate intake of food can lower your blood sugar levels, which can make you dizzy as you workout.

Weight Management Expert, Dr. Gargi Sharma points out "the process of digestion causes the body's temperature to increase leading to greater use of nutrients while exercising. Working out on an empty stomach can cause unwanted protein loss. Eating adequate food and drinking fluids before working out are very important as they will help to maintain the blood glucose levels."(Also Read: Looking For Good Post Workout Snacks? Here Are 5 Foods You Must Avoid)

Why Bananas Fit The Bill?

For your pre work out nutrition, it is very essential to eat foods that are high in carbs and moderate in protein and fibre. This is because carbs are the main fuel source of providing energy to the brain. Wondering what can fit the bill as the perfect pre- workout snack? It is our humble banana.

According to experts, bananas are the perfect pre-workout food. They are packed with carbs (for fuel) and lots of potassium. It helps in optimal nerve and muscle function during the workout. It will facilitate slow release of glucose into your bloodstream. Bananas are especially great for endurance workouts. They look after your glycogen needs.

According to Bangalore based nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, "Whatever you eat, be it a banana or toast, it will act as a stimulator. It will improve your efficiency and mobilise the fat. In addition to the umpteen vitamins and minerals, bananas are great digestion boosters too. It helps you initiate your workout. Also, when you work out consistently your glycogen store breaks down. Banana works to prevent that by replenishing the glycogen depletion in your muscles."

Here are 3 delicious banana pre-work out recipes you could try soon.

The easily digestible carbs and high content of potassium makes it an ideal pre-workout snack. The honey, on the other hand, helps in slow release of sugar to the brain for energy.

The easily digestible carbs and high content of potassium makes it an ideal pre-workout snack

This thick and delicious delight with goodness of bananas and honey helps infuse the right amount of energy. According to consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta, Bananas also works as a great electrolyte when you are on a strenuous workout regimen.

The goodness of bananas and honey helps infuse the right amount of energy

3. Banana Oat Bread
Recipe by Padma Penmetsa

Not only is the dish packed with the goodness of bananas, butter has been replaced with olive oil and refined sugar with dark brown sugar.

The dish packed with the goodness of bananas and oats flour is the ideal guilt free snack

Have more healthful recipes to share? Do post it in the comments section!

About Sushmita Sengupta Sharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.


Your Post-Exercise Fluid Needs

As long as you’re staying within your overall range for the day, you don’t need to be obsessive about matching the following calorie and nutrient ratios perfectly. Just be careful not to fall into the very common trap of thinking that it’s okay to eat anything and everything in sight because you just worked out. Many people are very hungry after a workout, making it easy to eat more than you really need or to choose foods that won’t really help your body. Eating too much of the wrong thing can cause your body to store that food as fat instead of using your post-workout meal to refuel and repair your muscles.

    Calories. Ideally, try to eat enough calories to equal 50 percent of what you burned during your workout. So if you burn about 600 calories, try to eat 300 calories after exercise.

But if your appetite or schedule doesn’t allow you to eat a meal right after exercise, don’t panic. Your body can still replace your muscle fuel over the next 24 hours, as long as you’re eating enough food to support your activity level. Try to have a smaller snack that contains carbs and protein as soon after exercise as possible. Liquids like smoothies, shakes or chocolate milk, and/or energy bars, can be especially effective post-workout snacks.


Here is what Ms. Platt recommends:

Before: Fuel Up!

Not fueling up before you work out is like &ldquodriving a car on empty,&rdquo said Platt, an American Heart Association volunteer. You also won&rsquot have enough energy to maximize your workout and you limit your ability to burn calories.

Ideally, fuel up two hours before you exercise by:

  • Hydrating with water.
  • Eating healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain cereals (with low-fat or skim milk), whole-wheat toast, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, whole grain pasta, brown rice, fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoiding saturated fats and even a lot of healthy protein &mdash because these types of fuels digest slower in your stomach and take away oxygen and energy-delivering blood from your muscles.

If you only have 5-10 minutes before you exercise, eat a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana.

&ldquoThe key is to consume easily digested carbohydrates, so you don&rsquot feel sluggish,&rdquo Platt said.

During: Make a Pit Stop.

Whether you&rsquore a professional athlete who trains for several hours or you have a low to moderate routine, keep your body hydrated with small, frequent sips of water.

Platt notes that you don&rsquot need to eat during a workout that&rsquos an hour or less. But, for longer, high-intensity vigorous workouts, she recommends eating 50-100 calories every half hour of carbohydrates such as low-fat yogurt, raisins, or banana.

After: Refuel Your Tank.

After your workout, Ms. Platt recommends refueling with:

    Fluids. Drink water, of course. Blend your water with 100% juice such as orange juice which provides fluids, carbohydrates.

It&rsquos important to realize that these are general guidelines. We have different digestive systems and &ldquoa lot depends on what kind of workout you&rsquore doing,&rdquo Platt said.

So do what works best for you. Know that what you put in your body (nutrition) is as important as you what you do with your body (exercise). Both are crucial to keeping your engine performing at its best.


The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Your Workout

Fuel up for optimal results&mdashand recovery. Here's what to eat before and what to eat after a workout to stoke your muscles and kick-start the healing process.

When it comes to fitness, there are certain universal questions that experts hear almost every day: How can I get the most out of my workouts? How can I lose weight faster, burn the most calories, and feel energized enough to power through every training session? While there are other elements that may affect your unique situation, there&aposs one simple answer that applies to all of these questions: Eat! More specifically, eat the right foods at the right time. Below, everything you need to know about what to eat before and after a workout.

Like many women, I used to think the best way to lose weight was to work out hard and wait until mealtime to eat. I now know that the key to getting and maintaining a knockout body is a combination of regular exercise and eating the right foods at the right times. (Read: Not starving myself!)

Keep reading for pro tips about what to eat before and what to eat after a workout to਋urn the most calories, stay਎nergized, build lean muscle, lose weight, and speed up recovery.

The Importance of Eating Before Your Workout

Whether you eat or don&apost eat before exercise, research shows the body burns the same amount of fat. However, you can actually cause muscle loss if you regularly work out on an empty stomach. (Related:਎verything You Need to Know About Burning Fat and Building Muscle)

Here&aposs why: When you&aposre hungry, your body goes into survival mode and draws protein from muscle instead of from your kidneys and liver, where the body normally looks for protein. When this happens, you lose muscle mass, which can ultimately slow your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. Plus, if you exercise on an empty stomach, you&aposre not giving yourself the fuel you need to power through an intense training session. (Eat one of these snacks before your next workout and turn your body into a fat-burning machine!)

What to Eat Before a Workout

The best pre-workout bite contains some form of complex carbohydrate and a protein. The key is to have a mixed bag of complex and simple carbs so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your routine.

Here are some of the best pre-workout meals and snacks to keep਎nergized during your workout.

  • Brown rice (1/2 cup) with black beans (1/2 cup)
  • Small sweet potato with steamed or lightly salted broccoli in olive oil (1 cup)
  • Banana with almond butter (2 tablespoons)
  • Apple with almond butter (2 tablespoons)
  • Multi-grain crackers (10) with hummus (3 tablespoons)
  • Oatmeal (1/2 cup) with berries (1 cup), sweetened with stevia or agave
  • Apple and walnuts (1/4 cup)
  • Whole-wheat toast (1 slice) with a sliced banana and dash of cinnamon
  • Greek yogurt (6 ounces) with trail mix (1/4 cup)

The Importance of Eating After Your Workout

During exercise, your body taps glycogen (the fuel stored in your muscles) for energy. After you&aposve cranked out that last rep, your muscles are depleted of their glycogen stores and broken down. When it comes to what to eat after a workout, eating or drinking something that combines protein and carbohydrates 30 minutes to an hour after your workout refills energy stores, builds and repairs your muscles that were broken down, and helps keep your metabolism burning strong. And know this: If you&aposre looking for ideas on what to eat after a workout to lose weight, the answer is still the same. Regardless of your goals, your body needs these macronutrients to refuel, otherwise, it will actually hang on to more calories because it&aposs in that survival mode mentioned above.

The sooner you start refueling, the better off you&aposll be. Research shows that your body&aposs ability to refill muscle stores decreases by 50 percent if you wait to eat just two hours after your workout compared to eating right away. Try to plan ahead and bring your recovery drink to the gym, or pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat when you&aposre finished. (Jelly isn&apost the only way to enjoy PB. Whip up one of these healthy peanut butter recipes for your next snack or meal.)

What to Eat After a Workout

According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the best foods to eat after a workout contain protein and a little carbohydrate — and you want to get those nutrients in immediately.

For what to eat after a workout, try these quick post-workout meal ideas to speed up recovery, maximize exercise benefits, and help maintain lean muscle:


The Body Types and How to Know Your Type

There are three main body types, says Catudal. Daily exercise, diet habits, and even metabolic changes by way of pregnancy and menopause can skew your body type, so you might not recognize what yours is right away. Lifestyle factors could have also changed your body, so that you now are more of a hybrid type.

If you’re unclear about where yours falls, one clue to your body’s more natural metabolic state is what your body looked like when you were a late teen or in your early twenties, says Catudal. Next, here are some clues, from Just Your Type, to identify where you fall:

Ectomorph Thin, long, and lanky. You have a smaller bone structure with shoulders that tend to be narrower than your hips. Over the years, you may also notice you have trouble gaining weight. This type can typically handle more carbohydrates.

Mesomorph You’re more muscle-dominant with an hourglass figure and medium frame.

Endomorph You have more body fat. Catudal says that women who are endomorphs may be described as curvaceous, while men may be called stocky. You tend to carry weight in your belly, hips, and thighs. An endomorph may be more prone to insulin resistance, and therefore need to watch their carbohydrate intake. Insulin resistance happens when cells can’t effectively take glucose from your blood and your pancreas compensates by ramping up insulin production, and it is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes. (4)

That said, “many people misclassify their body type,” says Catudal. His book includes a quiz to help you identify if you fit neatly into one of the three main types, above, or a hybrid type, described below.

Ecto-Mesomorphs This body type is lean and muscular.

Meso-Endomorphs This means strong but the muscles aren’t well defined, like a football player.

Ecto-Endomorphs The “skinny fat” person who is naturally thin but has gained weight due to lack of exercise and a poor diet.


The last thing you want is a pre-workout breakfast that sits like a rock in your gut, so an easy-to-digest smoothie is the way to go. Keep it healthy by blending frozen fruit and milk or a non-dairy alternative. Or buy a bottled one that contains less than 30 grams of sugar per serving and protein to slow the rate that your body absorbs that sugar and keep you fuller longer, says Thomsen. Either way, sip slowly through the morning for a dose of important vitamins and minerals. (Related: How to Make a Perfect Smoothie Every Time)

On Sunday, prep Macedonio&aposs favorite eat-on-the-run option for the week: Mix a whole-grain, high-fiber, low-sugar cereal (she likes Mini Shredded Wheat, Cheerios, or Chex) nuts (soy nuts, peanuts, or almonds) and dried fruit (raisins or cranberries), and portion out one-cup servings into sandwich bags. On your way out the door in the morning, grab a bag and a single-serving carton of low-fat milk. Or bake up a half-dozen fiber-rich breakfast muffins and freeze. Take one out the night before to thaw, or defrost it in the toaster oven when you wake up. Both options offer that perfect combo of carbs and protein to help kick your brain into gear and satisfy your hunger.


Oh, and the best part?

These meals are based on foods you can find at any supermarket. No driving yourself crazy running from health food store to speciality store, spending a fortune on exotic ingredients.

See, this is where most diet plans go wrong.

Sure, in the first week or two of clean eating you might have the motivation to hunt down strange ingredients and blow up your kitchen making complicated meals.

But, let’s be honest… after a few weeks “real life” sets in: you have to work, go to the gym, deal with your social and family responsibilities, and still somehow find the time to plan and prepare your healthy meals.

Don’t fall into that trap.

The VShred Recipe Guide is jam-packed with over 40 easy to prepare, simple to plan & customize, healthy meals that will hit Fast-Forward on your body transformation.


What you want from a pre-workout breakfast

The number one thing you're looking for is carbs, which provide a quick hit of energy and a boost to your glycogen stores, the reserves of glucose (your body's fuel) that your muscles can dip into when you're working out, as Jessica Jones, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E., cofounder of Food Heaven, has written for SELF. That typically means fruit or grains of some sort.

If you can stomach it, a modest amount of protein (likely in the form of egg, milk, yogurt, or deli slices) is optimal too, Jones says—especially if you're going to be breaking down your muscles with weight training. On the other hand, most people will want to avoid eating tons of protein, as well as high amounts of fiber or fat (all nutrients that can slow down digestion), to ensure easily accessible energy and avert potential nausea or stomach upset, Cara Harbstreet, M.S., R.D., L.D. of Street Smart Nutrition, previously told SELF.

From there what you eat (and when) depends on your appetite and schedule. The guidance on how much time to leave between chowing down and working out ranges widely, from 30 minutes to three hours, as Jones writes. If you're working out early in the morning, you probably don't have three hours to kill. Generally speaking, eating about 90 minutes before a workout should give you enough time to digest, Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles, M.S., R.D.N., certified specialist in sports dietetics, founder of Eat4Sport and adjunct professor of sports nutrition at Columbia University, tells SELF.

If you're in a time crunch and have a shorter period to digest between waking up and working out, a good rule of thumb is to opt for a smaller portion than usual, O’Donnell-Giles explains. On the other hand, if you've got both more of an appetite and time to digest, O’Donnell-Giles suggests trying to eat something a little more substantial—with a bit more protein, fiber, and fat, for instance.

The truth is that what the best pre-workout fuel up looks like for you can vary a lot from person to person. Jones says it might take some experimenting to see what time frame works best for you, and how much food (and what kind!) you feel good eating before working up a sweat.

For some inspiration, we've gathered a few pre-workout breakfast ideas and arranged them, roughly, from lighter to heavier—so you can find something that works whether you're waking up at 5 a.m. with zero appetite and just 30 minutes before your workout, or at 7 a.m. with an appetite and two hours to spare. Something to keep in mind here: A lot of these ideas (especially early on the list) are not enough to be considered complete breakfasts on their own. You'll need to eat a post-workout snack or second breakfast containing protein and carbs to restore your energy, help your body repair and recover, and tide you over until lunch. (And, if you’re exercising pretty long and hard, you might need to supplement during your workout too.)


Is there any downside to meal prepping?

Since meal prepping can involve eating the same dish or types of food a few days in a row, it's not for people who prize variety and freshness above all else. Getting kids on board with eating "leftovers" can also pose a challenge, especially if you're making accommodations for different dietary restrictions or palettes. To avoid monotony, use different spices, dressings, or condiments to flavor your meals &mdash or plan on freezing your prepped food for dinner another week.