Confused on what the right thing to eat is before and after a workout? That's okay! It took me a while to decide what I thought about this topic. Every article says something different. Should I get carbs or protein before? How much do I need after? Well, truth is it's pretty simple. Find what works best for you. With that being said, there are some things I believe are important in being sure you are fueling your body properly.
First off, before your workout. If you prefer early morning workouts, like myself, don't go to the gym on a completely empty stomach. If you don't mind working out directly after eating something, try to get a mix of complex and simple carbs, such as toast and fruit, or yogurt with fruit. This mix of carbs gives you a great energy boost that will last you through your workout. The complex carbs will break down slower, giving you energy for a longer amount of time. The simple carbs will give you that boost that you need to get going! Now, if you are like me, and like your food to be settled before a workout but don't have time in the morning, don't worry! You could eat something small like an apple, but I suggest finding a good pre workout mix. (I recommend SFH PUSH pre workout mixed with water and a little Bai 5 juice, which can be found at Kroger. This pre workout has no artificial sweeteners or flavorings, contains BCAAs to prevent muscle breakdown, and has many other features that promote endurance, motivation, and hydration. Not to mention it tastes like candy, that's always a plus!) For those who don't workout first thing in the morning, follow the same rule of getting a mix of simple and complex carbs beforehand. Timing wise, that's up to you! Whatever makes you feel best. Having small amounts of fat such as a handful of nuts or avocado or nut butter on toast is okay, but avoid having foods with high fat content right before a workout, as these break down slower and could cause you to feel sluggish.
Now, onto after the workout. First off, protein!!! Be sure to get plenty of protein after a workout to prevent muscle breakdown and promote muscle synthesis and growth. I try to get ATLEAST 20g after a workout. Next, and just as important in my opinion, carbs! Don't be scared of carbs people! Our bodies need these. They help to restore glycogen levels and replenish energy. Fats also play an important role as they help our bodies ability to absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat, along with keeping us full longer. But, they do slow down the time in which the protein and carbs are released, so a post workout meal, if your goal is muscle growth more so than fat loss, should have a little less fat than a usual meal would. (I am guilty of not really ever following this rule oops.) Don't stress too much about that because it isn't as crucial and won't have a large effect on your progress, but it is good to know. The protein and carbs just won't get to the muscles AS fast, but it for sure will not put your progress backwards in any way. You will still get stronger and your muscles will still grow;) Trust me, honestly, I rarely worry about this because nut butter, eggs, or avocado at breakfast is my life. Also, remember to hydrate after a workout! You loose lots of water due to sweat and other factors, so you want to be sure to replenish and rehydrate your body. Timing wise, for post workout...as soon as possible! If I know I won't be able to go straight home, I will bring a protein shake to the gym, then a meal as soon as I can after. I recommend SFH whey protein, as it enters your muscles quickly to immediately begin to help repair them. You want to feed those hungry muscles what they need so you don't cause them to breakdown.
I hope this has cleared up any questions you guys had about what you should eat pre and post workout. And remember, there isn't one EXACT right way. Find what works best for you while being sure to fuel your body with everything it needs.