The 80/20 Food/Fitness Rule & Pre/Post Workout Eating


To achieve a healthy lifestyle, the foods you eat should work in harmony with your fitness routine. In fact, it is a ratio of 20% fitness experience and 80% dietary input, according to the experts. Your food intake can be a powerful force in providing you with good fluids, special electrolytes, and super energy sources following a workout.

The 80/20 Food/Fitness Rule

After a workout of course you are going to be tired and maybe a little hungry! (But fortunately, it also comes with a sense of well-being as the endorphins begin to release in your brain.) Many record that they need some salt, some fluids, and maybe a quick punch of sugar. I personally like to suggest the “Eat-Clean Principles” authored by Tosca Reno, in which she suggests:

Consuming 15g carbs before and >20g protein after your workout.

I like these thoughts and cannot stress enough that you choose the simplest of carbohydrates and the simplest of proteins in this case. Here are some homemade pre- and post-workout snack ideas:

  • You can certainly bring your own supply of fruit or vegetable juices to drink before the workout, or maybe a banana.
  • Some protein, such as nuts and cheese, make a good protein afterwards, and store well in your bag.
  • You may also want an instant container of soup and just add hot water. This is a much better re-supply for sodium or salt, than any package of saltines or chips.

Or you may want to try some of these choices, for carbohydrates and proteins now available at Elite Sports Clubs’ e-eafés! Some of our favorites are:

  • Creamy, rich smoothies made in a variety of flavors, with really good fruit purees, as a base, plus you can add vitamin boosts, extra protein such as whey, and you can even choose a low calorie variety. They are a big hit!
  • Another source of good protein is the Organic Chocolate Milk. These drinks are 8oz and 150 calories. Or you can try the No Milk-just casein, Muscle Milk for 140 calories, 20g protein.
  • Otherwise, we have good fruit juices, and teas.
  • Fresh, hydrating beverages are also available, such as Sparkling Ice, no calories, a little carbonation, and no calories.
  • Susie’s Nature Bars are another good option. The calories are just over 265; and they are good sources of protein and fiber, about 6g each or more. But their fiber is extremely high quality nuts and seeds, with a variety of fruit binders. They are delicious and fresh!

Just remember, a good protein snack such as an energy bar should be about 6-20g of protein; whereas a good source of protein for a meal should be 3oz meat or 30g protein as a “full meal bar.” Don’t forget, your good food choices will make it or break it for you on your personal program!

Need help getting set up on a personal plan or figuring out some go-to pre- and post-workout foods? Let us help! Just let us know a little bit about your goals and we can get started!

What are your favorite pre- and post-workout snacks? Tell us in the comments!

Written by Rita Larsen, RD, CD, Former Nutrition Educator and Diet Counselor at Elite Sports Clubs

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