Working out will help you build the body of your dreams but only when you pair your workouts with proper nutrition. Eating the right foods before, during, and after your workouts will help ensure that you can push through your most intense training sessions while helping your muscles recover as quickly as possible. Not sure how to structure your workout nutrition? Take a look below for some helpful tips.

Before

About an hour or two before your workout, you’ll want to make sure you eat a healthy source of carbohydrates like oats, brown rice, whole-grain toast, potatoes, or other starchy vegetables. Pair that carb source with a low-fat source of protein, such as protein powder, egg whites, or lean meats. Precision Nutrition advises that consuming carbs and proteins prior to training will prepare your muscles for the work you’re about to do and will help mitigate muscle fiber breakdown while training. Always make sure you consume plenty of water prior to your workout. Staying hydrated will help boost your performance in the gym and will keep you from feeling lightheaded or weak.

During

Water helps your muscles contract during a workout, so be sure you’re drinking plenty of water in between exercises. If you’re performing an intense workout, you can also include a low-fat, fast-digesting source of carbohydrates during your training to help push you through. According to Elite FTS, consuming intra-workout shakes that include a simple carbohydrate source and a protein source can help you push out those last few reps and keep you from feeling fatigued. Because intra-workout protein helps slow down the breakdown of muscle protein, consuming a shake mid-workout can also give you a head start on muscle recovery.

After

It should be a high priority to make sure you drink plenty of water. According to Xyngular, staying hydrated helps your body perform physically, but it also helps you recover after exercise. If you’ve just begun tracking your water consumption, try to consume at least 64 ounces of water per day. Ideally, you should aim to drink one ounce of water for every pound of your body weight. Immediately after your workout, your muscles are primed to absorb nutrients. To get the best results from your training, make sure you consume one serving of a low-fat source of protein, as well as one serving of low-fat carbohydrates for best results. 

Pre-, intra-, and post-workout nutrition isn’t difficult to master. With just a bit of planning, you can design a healthy diet that fuels your hard-working muscles and that helps you build the body of your dreams.