Best Foods for Working Out
By: Brandi Wagner, RHN
1 September, 2011 by
Best Foods for Working Out
Sun Chlorella USA

To get optimal results from your workouts, you must be fueled by proper nutrition. Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein are among the best foods for working out because they are the nutrients required to maintain your energy levels, enhance your focus and concentration and improve strength and recovery time.

What you eat (or don't eat) before and after a workout determines whether or not you achieve your fitness goals. Take proper care of your health and wellness. Here's a breakdown of the best foods for working out and why.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbs are found in foods such as whole grains, sweet potatoes, sprouted grain bread, beans and legumes. Both complex and simple carbs break down into sugar (glucose), which the body uses and stores for energy.

Due to their high fibre content, complex carbs digest slowly when they release sugar into the bloodstream, resulting in a steady supply of long-lasting energy.

Pre-Workout Benefits:

Including complex carbs in your pre-workout meal approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour before exercising can greatly improve the quality of your energy levels and endurance. Oatmeal, whole grain toast, brown rice, potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat pancakes and rye crackers are a few simple and easy-to-prepare options that will keep you energized for the duration of your workout.

Post-Workout Benefits:

When you consume foods that contain sugar and your body doesn't need it as energy right away, it is converted from glucose to glycogen and stored in the muscles and liver.

During a workout, your body will tap into these energy reserves and convert glycogen back to glucose to be used during exercise.

For this reason, it's important to replenish your glycogen stores after a workout with carbohydrates. When glycogen levels are low, you'll experience symptoms such as extreme fatigue, confusion and dizziness.

Simple Carbohydrates 

Simple carbs are found in fruit, honey, milk, white rice, white pasta, white sugar, cookies, candy and baked goods. They're called simple carbs because they lack fiber. Without fiber, sugar (energy) is released rapidly into the bloodstream.

Of course, fruit, white rice and natural sweeteners such as honey are the healthier options as they also contain essential vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.

On the contrary, cookies, cakes, ice cream and candy are void of nutrients and can actually hinder your fitness or natural weight loss goals by encouraging weight gain, fat storage and damage to your internal organs.

Pre-Workout Benefits:

Simple carbs offer a quick burst of energy and will complement a pre-workout meal or make an excellent snack 30 minutes before a workout. By adding berries to your oatmeal or making a smoothie with frozen fruit and rice milk, you'll get plenty of energy from simple carbs.

Post-Workout Benefits:
Because simple carbs get absorbed quickly, they can be the better option over complex carbs for replenishing glycogen stores immediately after an intense gym session, making these some of the best foods for working out.


Sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium are electrolytes that help with muscle contraction and nerve function. They are lost through sweat, which is why it's especially important to include them in your diet before and after workouts. A green smoothie with leafy greens, banana and kiwi will provide plenty of electrolytes that are quickly absorbed and utilized by the body.

Pre-Workout Benefits:
Electrolytes can help avoid muscle cramping and spasms while you exercise. Electrolytes, especially magnesium, also promote and maintain optimal cardiac function.

Post-Workout Benefits:
Restoring the electrolytes you've lost during your workout through food and nutritional supplements will help prevent nausea, cramping, dizziness and fatigue.


Ah, the famous fitness macronutrient! Protein is essential to muscle building and repair. Without adequate protein in your diet, you suffer from extreme fatigue, lack of endurance and weakness during strength building activities. In addition, your recovery time is much slower than usual, which means it will take longer to get back into the gym. (And with low stamina, you may not be motivated to do so!)

Pre-Workout Benefits:
Although protein isn't used for energy during a workout, it can help prevent damage to your muscle tissue. For this reason, you may want to include a few tablespoons of a high quality whey protein powder in your pre-workout smoothie.

Post-Workout Benefits:
Protein is a must-have in your post-workout meal to aid in muscle tissue repair and promote increased muscle mass. You'll want to ensure you've had a good source of protein (and enough for your body weight) within 30 to 90 minutes after a workout. Greek yogurt, eggs, wild fish, chicken and turkey are examples of lean protein to include in your post workout meals.

Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF

 CGF contains numerous health benefits for athletes, such as its nucleic acid content (RNA and DNA). Nucleic acid is made by the body and regenerates and provides energy to cells. If you lack energy, CGF can help tremendously as it provides nucleic acids to the body through an external food source rather than having the body synthesize it. This provides energy much quicker while helping to conserve the energy your body uses to make it.

CGF also contributes to tissue repair as suggested by the name "growth factor.” By aiding in muscle tissue repair, your recovery time between workouts can be reduced, which means quicker gains for you!

Pre-Workout Benefits:
CGF acts as an effective energy-boosting supplement and supplies the body with electrolytes, plant-based protein and antioxidant vitamins and minerals. You may want to blend chlorella powder into your pre-workout smoothie.

Post-Workout Benefits:
CGF helps regenerate cells and repairs the muscle tissue that is ripped during workouts, reducing your overall recovery time. Taking Sun Wakasa Gold Plus is a great way for athletes to obtain a concentrated dose of CGF while also replenishing electrolytes and glycogen stores. CGF also helps to build up the immune system, which is suppressed by intense exercise.

About Brandi Wagner, RHN
Brandi Wagner is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from Vancouver, B.C. Experiencing her own health challenges at a young age led her to become passionate about educating on the healing properties of food, and how to achieve hormone balance, clear skin and sustainable weight loss naturally. In her spare time you'll find Brandi writing in her blog and hanging out with her teacup chihuahua, Coconut.

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