The best foods to eat before & after your workout

In an ongoing series on health, nutrition and becoming a better you, Modern Mississauga has teamed up with local fitness and health enthusiast Julie Cropper to provide tips, advice and inspiration to help you become the best you possible. Got a question for Julie? Send it to

Like many people, I used to think the best way to lose weight was to work out hard and wait until meal time to eat. But I’ve learned that feeding your body before and after every workout is the best way to burn the most calories, build lean muscle, stay energized and speed up recovery time. 

But what should you be eating before and after your workouts? Carbs are essential for energy and protein is vital for muscle growth. The best pre-workout meals should include a “complex” carbohydrate and lean protein source. Keep it light and simple so it won’t weigh you down but will keep you energized. Here are some of my faves before I hit the gym.

Egg Whites

My number one choice with 4 grams of protein in 1 egg white and zero fat. I eat them every day prior to my workout, either scrambled or boiled. 

Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit

Oatmeal is a workout buddy that sticks with you and will supply you with steady energy throughout your routine.


They are rich in carbohydrates, potassium, and are perfect for those who like to train first thing in the morning.

Greek Yogurt

With almost double the protein than regular yogurt, Greek Yogurt will provide an energy boost and is easy on your stomach.

Apple with Peanut Butter

For a quick carb fuel up, have a medium apple with some natural peanut butter.

Energy Bar

When in a hurry, try grabbing an energy bar.  Pick one with the most natural ingredients and while protein count is key, make sure to check the sugar content.

Following your workout, your body and muscles are starved. I can’t wait to get home to eat! I aim to eat within 30 minutes of completing my workout. It’s during this time that the body is working to refill energy stores, repair the muscles that were broken, and keep your metabolism burning. The sooner you refuel your body, the better it is.  Here are some of my top post-workout foods.


This super food  contains a ton of protein and requires less time prepare than brown rice. (I’m always in a hurry!)


This will not only give you a large dose of protein, but the anti-inflammatory omega-3s found in salmon will help rebuild your muscles.


These little berries will give your body a huge antioxidant boost and will increase your rate of recovery so you can get back to the gym sooner!


The good fats found in avocados will help with muscle repair and vitamin B to jump start your metabolism.   

Protein Shake

These are not only quick and easy, but a protein shake is quickly absorbed by the body and easy to digest.

Tuna with Crackers

Mix up a light tuna salad (make a bigger batch and store it in the fridge) and enjoy it with some whole grain crackers.

Remember, your body uses a lot of energy during a workout. Get to know your body and how it responds so that you can give it what it needs. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by not eating. Fueling your body before and after your workouts will go a long way. 

What are some of your favorite pre and post workout meals?  Let us know!

Julie has a passion for health and fitness and is on a mission to help others be the best they can be at any age. Follow her on Instagram @julescropper.