Right now I have 3 very ripe bananas in my kitchen. People who know me know how rare that is. I loathe ripe bananas; as soon as they lose the green at the top, I'm done with them. They're just so banana-y. But I purposefully let these bananas ripen (it took a lot of self-restraint, believe me) so that I can make one of my favorite energy bite recipes I found on Pinterest (link at the bottom of the post).
It's just bananas, peanut butter, oats, and chocolate chips, and they roll up into easy grab-and-go little balls of energy. They're the perfect pre-workout snack. Fueling up pre-workout is so important; have you ever tried to workout hungry? It's not fun, and you definitely don't perform at your best. Plus, you run the risk of forcing your body to burn muscle glycogen (which means breaking down muscle) just to make it through the workout. Kind of defeats the point of exercising, right?
When it comes to the pre-workout snack, carbohydrates are your friend (I mean, they're always your friend, but especially before you hit the gym). When you're exercising, your body needs immediate fuel. Carbohydrates provide fuel that is ready to burn, whereas fat and protein are a slower sources of fuel.
Post workout is when you want to get some protein in, as well as more carbohydrates. Did you know that consuming carbohydrates and protein post workout actually increases your body's fat burning ability? It can also decrease muscle soreness as you recover and increase your ability to re-hydrate. You want to have a recovery drink/snack/meal within an hour after your workout for the best results. The absolute best recovery drink? Low fat chocolate milk. It provides the perfect mix of carbohydrates and protein for optimal recovery, so you see the results you want.
Here's the recipe I mentioned at the beginning of the post. For the "heaping" spoonful I do 2 tablespoons of creamy, natural peanut butter. I also cut the chocolate chips to 1/3 cup. What are some of your favorite pre and post workout snacks?
Taryn is a Los Angeles based Registered Dietitian who's passionate about helping you be your healthiest you.