What Should I Eat Before And After Working Out?

Should I eat lower calories on the days I don't work out and more calories on the days I do?

That is a great question! Focusing on your nutrition and matching your energy intake to your lifestyle and sport needs is a helpful tool for people looking to enhance their performance for their sport. What makes you curious about this? How are your current eating habits? 

What/how much should I eat before my workout and after my workout?

That is a great question! Pre and post-workout nutrition is helpful to boost performance and maximize our training session. What do you eat and do the rest of the day? 

How much protein should I have in each meal?

That is a great question! What makes you ask? Getting adequate protein in our diet is important to fuel many processes in our bodies. Many of us don’t get optimal protein in our diets to support our lifestyle, sport, and goals. How are your current eating habits?

What macro ratio should I have?

That is a great question! What makes you curious about that? Eating the proper amounts of each macronutrient can help you optimize your performance as well as reach your body composition goals. How are your current eating habits?

Are bananas bad for you? Are bananas fattening?

That is a great question! What makes you ask that? Bananas are rich in micronutrients that our bodies need to function optimally and for us to be healthy and thrive. They contain vitamin b6, potassium, folate, riboflavin, magnesium, and copper. How are your current eating habits?

There are so many questions about what we should or need to do for good nutrition. When I work with nutrition clients I often get a lot of questions or concerns that are valid and good questions and concerns. However, I find that people are most often focused on advanced, complicated nutrition skills and even nutrition “myths” without having a solid foundation of good nutrition habits, and before having mastered fundamentals. 

Rather than focus on these myths and complicated nutrition skills and practices, how about we zoom out and ask ourselves “What is the simple truth of how I ate today?”

Did I eat slowly, calmly and mindfully... at every meal?
Did I choose foods wisely and thoughtfully… at every meal?
Did I eat a varied diet full of nutrient-rich, less processed, whole foods?
Did I hydrate properly?

How many of us practice these... every day? How many people do we know that practice these… every day?

If you are reading this and your eating habits and nutrition are inconsistent I encourage you to quit focusing on the complicated, advanced nutrition techniques that you’ve read or heard about in bodybuilding magazines, or on social media. Instead, I encourage you to focus on building a solid foundation on good nutrition habits by mastering fundamentals first. 

We are going to do that by reducing things to the ridiculous.

If your eating habits are inconsistent, sporadic, full of refined highly processed foods, alcohol, fast food, caloric drinks, yo-yo dieting, you really don’t need to be worried about bananas being fattening, macro ratios, eating less on non-training days, eating more on training days. 

You need to focus on the basics and consistently master the fundamentals.

Here are the top 3 basic diet experiments that I suggest people try and see how it makes them feel and function. These are fundamental skills that we can always rely on as our foundation!

1. Eat slowly, calmly, and mindfully until satisfied.
- Why? For one, digestion starts in the mouth. Our glands release an enzyme to break down food. The longer food stays in the mouth the longer the enzyme has to start the process of digestion, which will improve our overall digestion. Eating slowly may help you feel full sooner because it gives our body time to signal to us that we have had enough food and you end up eating less overall.

- How? Take small bites, put the fork or food down in between bites, slowly chew each bite 20-30 times, wine taste each bite, noticing smells, taste, textures, of each bite, swallowing before taking another small bite and repeat.

- Try this habit for 2 weeks and be aware of how this helps you feel digestion wise, fullness and satisfaction wise, and if it helps you to eat less because you feel full. 

2. Don’t keep food in the house that doesn’t help you reach your goals
- First, identify your red yellow, and green light foods, red light foods are those that you eat too much of and don’t make you healthier or get you closer to your goals. Yellow light foods are those you can enjoy in moderation in controlled environments and green light foods are those that are good for you like vegetables.

- When you identify the red light foods, throw them out, don’t buy them, don’t keep them in the house. Berardi law #1 is that if you have food in your house no matter how much will power you think you have, you or someone in your house will eventually eat it. 

3. Get in tune with your bodies physiological fullness and hunger cues
- How often do you eat when you are physically hungry and stop eating when you are physically full? Regulating our eating behaviors through being attuned to and aware of our bodies physiological hunger and fullness cues is a very important skill for improving nutrition and fitness habits. Not only our physiological cues, but also our thoughts and thinking patterns around food and mealtimes.

- I think a problem in our culture is that we are disconnected from eating, we mindlessly eat and mindlessly choose what we are eating. As a result, we are very disconnected from our true physiological hunger cues and this concept seems foreign to us. Think about young children, generally they eat when they are hungry and they stop eating when they are full, they pay attention to innate cues from their body. In a culture that is “diet” heavy and externally focused we lose connection to this.

- How do we do this? I have two exercises or experiments.
Play the hunger game. Before you eat, check-in with yourself, are you physically hungry? Is your stomach growling, are you lightheaded? Are you irritable? On a scale of 1-10, you want to be at least a 7. If you aren’t hungry, don’t eat. 

Do an eating behaviors journal. Here is a link to an eating behavior journal from Precision Nutrition 


These 3 exercises or experiments might seem silly, and not your conventional nutrition advice you typically read about or hear about on social media or from the fitness industry. However, don’t knock them until you try them. As this blog states, reduce it to the ridiculous and try these basic, yet potentially powerful diet experiments that could change your eating behaviors drastically. 

Basics are best. 

Make a deal with yourself, to try and give your best effort to focusing on mastering some fundamental skills for good nutrition rather than listening to all the noise out there. Try one of these for a month, giving it your best effort and attune to what you experience and learn from trying it. Even professionals need to get back to the basics! I am revisiting some of these right now. 

Let us know how it goes! Also, if you need nutrition coaching, I am accepting new clients!


Charissa is a Performance Coach, Certified Nutrition Coach, Certified Fitness Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology. She also holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration. She is a follower of Jesus, passionate about faith, fitness, nutrition, a lifestyle of total health, meditating, learning and growing!

1 comment

  • Kalyn

    This blog post is 🔥. I’m actually in the process of developing a nutrition seminar called, “Back to the Basics.” It’s covering this same idea. This post was confirmation for me to keep developing. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published