If you’re beginning a new workout routine as part of your 2015 resolutions, figuring out when and what to eat before and after exercising is an important component of keeping up your energy levels to sustain that fitness habit. For example, what to do when you wake up hungry but want to work out first thing? “Carbs before, protein after is the general rule” for workout nutrition according to Tim McConnell, owner of running gear shop West Seattle Runner. “I usually have a bagel with honey or peanut butter before a run, and a latte after.” McConnell recently kicked off the shop’s annual couch to half-marathon training group, which is geared towards ultra-beginners and includes information on nutrition, gear and more in between group training runs.
The approximately 20 to 45 minutes after a workout is the “metabolic window” when you want to eat something small that includes some protein to help replenish the body’s energy—according to Bastyr University’s “Whole Foods to Fuel Your Workout," chocolate milk with a banana, or graham crackers with peanut butter provide a good ratio of carbs to protein for a snack in this window of time. Then be sure to eat a full meal within two hours.