- 1 banana and 1 Tbsp nut butter*
- ½ cup rolled oats with ½ cup low-fat milk and ½ cup blueberries
- 1 can Beet Performer or another beet juice (research suggests the nitrates they contain boost blood flow to working muscles, helping you perform better) plus about 25 pistachios*
- 1 cup low-fiber cereal (such as puffed rice) plus ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ⅛ cup walnuts plus ¼ cup dried apricots*
Lifting requires less glycogen, the type of glucose your muscles use to power endurance sports like running and cycling. So it’s not quite as critical to fuel up immediately before picking up the dumbbells, Rumsey says. That said, a too-empty stomach will leave you dragging long before your final lunge, meaning you won’t get as much out of your workout. If you haven’t eaten within 3 to 4 hours or tend to feel lightheaded and weak by the end of a session, sneak in a 100- to 250-calorie snack containing 15 to 30 g of carbohydrates and 10 to 20 g of protein about an hour before you pick up a dumbbell. Getting high-quality protein from dairy, eggs, or meat beforehand ensures that you have the essential amino acid leucine circulating in your blood after your workout, which jump-starts the recovery process, says exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Stacy Sims, PhD.
- 6 oz Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey
- 6 oz cottage cheese plus ½ cup raspberries
- 2 hard-boiled eggs on one slice toast or with a serving of fruit
- 2 oz lox and 1 Tbsp cream cheese on two Ryvita Light Rye Crispbreads
- 1¼ cup edamame in the pods, sprinkled with chili powder and sea salt
- Light smoothie with 1 cup frozen mangoes, 1 cup almond milk, and ½ tsp turmeric to fight inflammation*
- Chia pudding made with ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 Tbsp chia seeds, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup; mix and chill in a mason jar overnight*
- One of Hartley’s favorite juice blends, which doubles as a hydrator: In a juicer, combine 1 large carrot, 1 peeled grapefruit, 1 navel orange, 1 large cucumber, ½-inch nub each of fresh ginger and turmeric, and ¼ lemon*
- Pureed vegetable soup. Make by cooking, then blending ¾ cup kabocha squash, ¼ cup onion, 1 cup kale, and 2 cups vegetable broth
- A bar with less than 15 g sugar, such as Rise’s Raspberry Pomegranate Bar or Health Warrior’s Lemon Goldenberry Chia Protein Bar
Cyclists have a rep for unusual snacks, says triathlete Martine—”It’s not uncommon to see riders pull a bag of boiled potatoes or a homemade rice bar out of their jersey pockets in the middle of a route,” she says. Salty foods like these prevent sodium depletion if you’re riding for longer than 45 minutes or in hot conditions, say Heather Mangieri, RD, CSSD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Whether you prefer your snacks sweet or savory, aim for 150 to 200 calories and at least 30 g of carbs—plus a little protein or healthy fat for staying power—before you hop in the saddle for 45 minutes or longer, Rumsey advises.
- ½ sweet potato topped with 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt (a great sub for sour cream)
- Smoothie made with a handful of leafy greens (such as spinach), 1 cup fruit, a handful of almonds, and water*
- 1 slice whole grain bread toasted, topped with half a mashed avocado, two slices of tomato, salt and pepper to taste
- A granola bar with at least 3 g of fiber, 5 g of protein, and less than 15 g of sugar, such as Jimmy Bars or Zing Bars
- ¾ cup chickpeas, roasted with salt and pepper*
Competitive swimmers can torch up to 1,000 calories in a 2-hour workout, Martine says. Even though you’ll burn far less in 45 minutes in your gym pool, about 150 to 200 calories of simple and complex carbohydrates plus a little protein or fat will keep you afloat. And keep in mind that, like in yoga or boot camp classes, you’ll be doing some twisting and turning—so steer clear of foods that upset your stomach.
- 6 oz fruit-flavored Greek yogurt
- 6 dates stuffed with 1 Tbsp almond butter*
- 4 graham crackers with 1 Tbsp nut butter and 4 sliced strawberries
- ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread
- Rice cake with 1 Tbsp almond butter and 2 Tbsp raisins*
Boot Camp Class
The best of both worlds, most boot camps blend resistance training with heart-pumping cardiovascular activity. Hard intervals mean your muscles demand more glycogen, Rumsey says. So if you haven’t eaten within 3 to 4 hours, aim to stack your 150- to 250-calorie snack with a little more than 30 g of carbohydrates. Add 10 to 15 g of protein—ideally from a source other than soy, which contains lower concentrations of leucine—to quicky repair and rebuild muscles afterward, Sims says. And make sure you leave plenty of time to digest beforehand; 1 to 2 hours is ideal, Mangieri says.
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt mixed with 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 sliced apple, and cinnamon to taste
- 10 mini pretzels + 1 Tbsp hummus
- 8 oz chocolate milk
- Open-faced sandwich with 2 oz roasted turkey breast (about the size of half a deck of cards) on one slice whole grain bread with Dijon mustard
Sure, the movements are tiny, but you’ll feel your muscles seriously burn, says Hartley, who consults for Pure Barre. If you haven’t eaten within 3 or 4 hours, aim for a snack of 150 to 250 calories, including quality carbohydrates and a hit of protein for recovery. Including omega-3 fatty acids from foods like avocados and salmon can help reduce postworkout soreness, as can ingredients like the tart cherry juice and cocoa powder in Huntley’s LTB smoothie, below.
- Huntley’s LTB (lift, tone, burn) smoothie: Blend 1 cup frozen raspberries with ½ small avocado, ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, ½ cup tart cherry juice, and 1 Tbsp cocoa powder*
- 1 hard-boiled egg and 1 apple*
- 2 slices of Wasa Whole Grain Crispbread each topped with 1 Tbsp part-skin ricotta cheese and 2 sliced dried apricot halves
- Greens topped with ½ cup blueberries and 3 oz salmon
- 1 frozen banana blended with 1 cup low-fat milk and a dash of vanilla and cinnamon