Prepare, Fuel, and Recover From Your Workout with the Right… | MOBE

Prepare, Fuel, and Recover From Your Workout with the Right Nutrition

two people eating healthy snacks
Created and curated by the MOBE Guide team.

Make the most of your workout by planning your nutrition ahead of time.

You give it your all when you work out, so ensure that your efforts are maximized by making smart food choices before and after a workout.

Focus your efforts on high-quality nutrition to reap the rewards of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to:

  • Help you prepare and recover pre- and post-workout
  • Boost your energy for endurance
  • Rebuild and repair damaged muscle
  • Prevent post-workout energy crash

    But nutrition pros will tell you that the answer is not energy bars or drinks. The best strategy is the right wholesome foods at the right time. Even those just starting an exercise routine can benefit from thinking about their workout nutrition in three phases.

    Phase 1: Pre-workout meals1,2

    Whether you're doing cardio, weight-training, or a combo of the two, the right time to eat a well-balanced, easy-to-digest meal is two to four hours before your workout.

    Focus on complex carbs to top off the energy stored in your muscles.

    • Brown rice
    • Green beans
    • Fresh fruit
    • Whole-grain bread

    Include a moderate amount of protein to prep your muscles for post-exercise recovery.

    • Grilled chicken
    • Turkey
    • Peanut butter
    • A few slices of cheese

    Go easy on fat like nuts and oils, and foods heavy in fiber like broccoli or cauliflower, to prevent tummy problems. And, of course, drink plenty of fluids.

    Phase 2: Snacks before or during a workout1,2

    If there's no time to fit in a full meal before your workout—if your workout is early in the morning or right after work, for instance—focus instead on a pre-workout snack. This micro-meal 30 minutes or so before you exercise is extra important if you'll be working out for 60 minutes or more.

    Before you work out, focus on carbs your body can access quickly.

    • Fresh fruit
    • Yogurt
    • Smoothie
    • Peanut butter sandwich

    During a workout, keep those carbs easy to consume.

    • Energy drink
    • Diluted fruit juice
    • Energy bar
    • Dried fruit

    Fun raisin fact: Nutrition researchers compared the performance of elite runners who recharged with either sports-specific energy chews or a supply of raisins. The raisin group got the same boost in energy as the sports-chew group for a fraction of the cost.3

    Phase 3: Post-workout snack and/or meal

    After your workout, your focus should be on refueling and recovery. Think about the three Rs:1

    • Replenish your muscles with simple carbs to replace what you've burned.
    • Rebuild your muscles with high-quality protein.
    • Rehydrate with fluid and electrolytes you sweated out during exercise.

    Ideally, you should refuel within 45 minutes after exercising, and most people aren't quite ready for a full meal by then. That's where these quick-recovery options are ideal:

    • Low-fat chocolate milk
    • Vanilla yogurt with fruit and honey
    • Smoothie made with low-fat milk, whey protein, and fruit

    A quick snack is perfect right after a workout, then follow it up with a fuller meal centered on:

    • Complex carbs like whole-grain rice or bread
    • Lean protein like chicken or fish
    • Plenty of rehydrating fluids

    Interesting whey protein fact: Many athletes use whey protein post-workout because it is easily digested. Plus, it contains high amounts of an amino acid known to help build and repair muscles.

    You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to benefit.

    No matter what your workout—a brisk walk or a long-distance run—exercise is an investment of time and energy. When you're putting that much effort into exercise, it's just as important to think about what you're eating.

    “To truly live healthily you need to find balance in all areas of your health,” says MOBE Guide Alessandra. “Eating, sleeping, moving your body, and stress management—if one of these is off, the rest can fall.”

    Work on your nutrition goals with one-to-one support from a MOBE Guide. Get started today.


    1. What to Eat Before and After a Workout,” Amy Goodson, American College of Sports Medicine.,

    2. “Pre- and Post-workout Snacks for Different Workout Durations,” Gina Crome, American Council on Exercise,

    3. Brandon Too, et al., “Natural Versus Commercial Carbohydrate Supplementation and Endurance Running Performance,” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 9, no. 1 (2012): 27,

    4. “Eating and Exercise: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Workouts,” Mayo Clinic,