Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

Give your body the fuel it needs with nutritious choices—available at the WAC!

By Melissa Petrichko, WAC Nutrition & Health Coach

Nutrition & Health Coach 2

When we think about eating healthy, we all know we need to eat a wide variety of quality whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and other lean protein sources. Most of us also know we should avoid processed foods, which are generally high in sugar and unhealthy fats and full of preservatives, additives, and colored dyes. These foundational nutrition guidelines are vital for optimal health and wellness and reduce our risk of developing chronic disease.
Along with healthy nutrition habits, we also need to exercise regularly to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. When we exercise and burn calories, our body requires additional nutrients to maintain energy levels. Advanced nutritional knowledge and a basic understanding of nutrient timing become vital to optimize athletic performance.

Pre-workout nutrition

It would be best to give your body a pre-workout snack 30 minutes before exercising for optimal athletic performance. The best pre-workout snacks provide quick-burning energy from natural sugars and whole food sources. Here are a few excellent pre-workout snack choices you can conveniently pick up at the WAC Club Shop in the lobby when on your way to a workout:

  • Fruit smoothies or organic cold-pressed juice
  • Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal
  • Greek yogurt and yogurt parfaits
  • Bananas
  • Prepared sandwiches made with whole-grain bread and full of vegetables and lean meats.

You also want to drink plenty of water during your workout and stay hydrated. If you are feeling particularly sluggish, you may want to give yourself a boost with a pre-workout supplement, such as:

  • C4 — A pre-workout energy supplement containing caffeine (150 mg) and Creatine Nitrate for quick energy replenishment, among other ingredients to aid with energy, recovery, and mood-boosting effects.
  • A small black cup of coffee can get you going as well!

Post-workout nutrition

Post-workout nutrition is also essential as it aids in the repair and recovery of the body. Within 15–45 minutes after your workout, your body is primed for some protein and simple carbs that will help your body absorb and utilize the nutrients you consume. Available at the Club Shop, these are great post-workout choices to consume within the 45-minute post-workout window:

  • Liquid nutrients digest more quickly. Protein drinks—such as Muscle Milk, Evolve, and Vega—are excellent choices. Consume one of these with a fast-digesting carb source, like a banana, to help the body absorb more protein into the body for recovery and repair.
  • Protein bars—such as Clif Builders, BOOM!, and RXBAR—are also good post-workout sources but take the body longer to digest.

To round out optimal nutrient timing for athletic performance, you want to plan to eat a well-balanced meal of protein, high-fiber carbs, and healthy fats two hours after your workout. The added nutrients in this post-workout meal will allow for more beneficial nutrient intake and further your ability to restore the body’s optimal energy needed for its next workout.

View WAC Wellness services online and contact the Wellness Center at

—Posted February 28, 2022; JC.

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