Fitness

What Top Fitness Instructors Really Eat to Refuel Post-Workout

Ever wonder how the pros really refuel and recover in between action-packed workouts? We asked fitness gurus to get the scoop on their go-to snacks, meals, and drinks.

By Lindsay Cohn

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Superfood oatmeal

iStock/john-shepherdKelsey Patel, owner and instructor at Pure Barre Beverly Hills, is a big believer in eating different types of food during various times of the day. “After my morning workout, I love Purely Elizabeth oatmeal and load it up with fresh fruit, honey, bee pollen, goji berries, and whatever else I have in the cupboard. My newest obsession is JeM chocolate hazelnut butter, and I add about a tablespoon to the oatmeal.” Try these 10 delicious ideas to make overnight oats more flavorful than ever.

Green smoothie

iStock/Nadianb”After teaching a class, I love to enjoy a homemade green smoothie,” says Mary Caroline Craig, board-certified integrative nutrition health coach and cycling coach at Tricycle Fitness in Seattle. Her recipe: Phytonutrient and iron-rich spinach, avocado for healthy fat, lime juice, easily digestible plant-based (rice and pea) protein, maca powder to boost muscle recovery, high fiber psyllium husk and chia seeds, and antioxidant-rich, frozen organic blueberries.

Homemade protein bar

iStock/jjpooleHow does Andrew Ash, barre3 Corporate Master Trainer, refuel and recover after class? A barre3 bar—packed with dates, almond butter, goji berries, and flax. “I’m not big on cooking or baking if it involves a lengthy process, so when this recipe came out I was so relieved that I could finally make a healthy snack that didn’t take an entire Sunday to prepare. All you do is take all the indigents, put them in a food processor, spread the mixture in a dish, and put it in the fridge—DONE!”

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Protein pancakes

iStock/nata_vkusideyCelebrity fitness trainer and USANA fitness ambassador, Erin Oprea powers up with protein pancakes—a good combination of protein and healthy carbs. Her recipe: Coconut flour, flaxseed, USANA plain whey protein powder, three egg whites, and almond milk, topped with cinnamon and blueberries. Want to build more muscle? Make sure these nine foods are in your diet.

Apple with almond butter

iStock/vaphotogLisa Schale Drake, barre3 master trainer and director of training, keeps it simple. “An apple with almond butter gives me the protein and fiber my body needs, and it’s an easy post-workout snack.”

Banana nut muffin and blueberry smoothieiStock/tenkende”I tend to go for healthy carbs such as a banana nut muffin and a smoothie with blueberries, protein powder, bananas, and almond milk,” says Steph Petruccio, SLT suburb instructor development manager.

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Raw carrot-cake energy bites

iStock/MizinaAnother one of Drake’s go-to snacks? Raw carrot-cake energy bites. The combination rolled oats, pecans, shredded carrots and raisins make a great energy-stabilizing snack. Watch out for these 13 post-gym mistakes could ruin your workout.

Quinoa bowliStock/joshuaraineyphotography”I’ve been on a huge warm grain bowl kick lately,” says Lindsay Bucci, lead instructor at Recycle Studio in Boston. She opts for quinoa bowls with kale, spinach, sweet potato, broccoli, grilled chicken, avocado, and beets. Her advice: Make the meal pop with color, protein and carbs to help your body recover and replenish after a grueling workout.

Kind Bar and coconut water

iStock/Tatiana-Volgutova”My go-to post-class snack—especially in between classes or training sessions—are Kind Bars Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt and Harmless Harvest Coconut Water,” says Allison Tibbs, NASM certified personal trainer in San Francisco. “The Kind Bar delivers a good dose of protein and a touch of sweetness, which is great for keeping my energy up and my blood sugar from tanking, while, the coconut water is a perfect hydrating beverage that isn’t packed with sugar.” Need a little motivation to hit the gym? Check out these gym-bag accessories that will make you psyched to work out.

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Protein shakeiStock/allgord”I know the importance of eating immediately post exercise—ideally within half an hour—to build lean muscle tissue,” says Ramona Braganza, global fitness expert and celebrity trainer (who has shaped the bods of Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, and Dakota Johnson). Immediately after working out, she drinks a shake with Vega vanilla protein powder, antioxidant-rich berries, unsweetened almond milk. “I add banana to thicken it up, almond butter for good fat, and chia seeds a loaded with nutrients for body and brain.” Sadie Kurzban, founder of 305 Fitness, is also a fan of post-workout smoothies. “If I’m on the go, I make myself a quick protein shake (with whey or pea protein) with unsweetened almond milk.”

Full-fat Greek yogurt with fruit and cacaoiStock/sugar0607″I love Siggi’s Yogurt. I usually choose plain, but their flavored yogurts are much lower in sugar than other brands’. I top with raspberries, blueberries, apples, or kiwi on top depending on the season,” says Thumbtack personal trainer, Kaitlyn Noble. She calls it the perfect snack because it’s portable and packed with protein (17 grams per container). “I always go with 4 percent fat because it’s crucial for satiation and your body needs the fat to utilize micronutrients like calcium.” The fruit delivers a carbohydrate and fiber boost, while the raw cacao adds a rich chocolate flavor, antioxidants, and micronutrients like magnesium to help fight stress, she says. Here are ten more tasty—and healthy—ideas for Greek yogurt toppings.

Salad with chicken

iStock/davidf”If it’s cardio, my go-to is normally a salad with chicken, avocados, chickpeas, roasted tomatoes, feta cheese, and cucumbers with a light dressing,” says Petruccio. Avocado has heart-healthy fats, while chickpeas are packed with fiber, and chicken provides lean protein. Don’t miss the signs you’re not getting enough protein.

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Scrambled eggs, toast, and avocadoiStock/c3nsoredAfter exercising, it’s important to eat a balanced meal with protein to fuel the body and rebuild the muscle that was broken down during a tough workout. “In the morning, my favorite post-workout meal is scrambled eggs, (whole wheat or gluten-free) toast, and avocado,” says Ashley Guarrasi, founding trainer at Rumble.

Tuna and whole wheat crackers

iStock/takepicsforfun”I like a combination of protein and healthy carbs after teaching, since I typically try to abstain from eating just before class (sluggishness doesn’t bode well for trying to be a peppy, energetic Spin instructor),” says Amanda Dale an ACE-certified personal trainer and spin instructor. For a protein punch, she turns to a water-packed tuna, mixed with hummus (a tasty and healthy sub for mayonnaise), and a few whole wheat crackers. Looking for a gluten cracker option? Check out 13 gluten-free foods nutritionists swear by.

Rice cakes with peanut butter and sliced bananaiStock/MSPhotographicAfter a workout you need to replenish blood sugar and glycogen levels, and refuel with protein and carbs, according to Erika Hammond, founding trainer at Rumble. “My go-to snack after a great workout is half a banana and two rice cakes with peanut butter.” Need more inspo? Check out these post-workout snack ideas.

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