One of the biggest fitness myths out there is that working out on an empty stomach will help you burn fat. It can actually have the opposite effect, says Dalton Wong, celebrity trainer and co-author of The Feelgood Plan: Happier, Healthier & Slimmer in 15 Minutes a Day ($22; amazon.com), a get-fit guide that takes a practical approach to being healthy with clean-eating tips and do-anywhere workouts. The key to achieving (and maintaining) a svelte figure, he adds, is exercising regularly and making sure you're consuming the right foods—and what you put into your body before and after every workout can help you stay energized and burn calories more efficiently. Below, his favorite pre- and post-workout eats.
What to Eat Before Your Workout
Contrary to popular belief, a pre-workout snack is actually a good thing—as long as it's something easily digestible with the right amount of proteins, carbs, and fats. Says Wong: "What you eat should help fuel your workout; your workout shouldn't burn what you just ate." Just make sure you're consuming food at least 45 minutes to one hour before you hit the gym.
- Home-blended green juice with ginger, lemon, cucumber, spinach, celery, and a dollop of nut butter
- Full-fat greek yogurt (1/2 cup) with berries (1 cup)
- Banana and a small handful of unsalted nuts
- 1 espresso or 1/2 cup of black coffee
What to Eat After Your Workout
According to Wong, what you eat after the gym is just as important as what you eat beforehand. Carbs and protein will help you refuel, and a whey protein shake made with almond milk right after you finish can drastically prevent overeating when you get home. "Your gas tank will be empty after a workout," he says. "I prefer that you fill it to 1/4 so it doesn't overflow."
- Hamburger made with organic ground meat on an open-faced whole wheat bun with baked sweet potato wedges and a salad with avocado, tomatoes, arugula, watercress, and radishes
- Chili made with organic meat, beans (pinto, kidney, and black), and veggies (onion, leek, mushroom, eggplant, and yellow pepper) on a bed of cauliflower rice
- Baked cod with lemon and roasted sweet potato wedges with chunky carrots, beetroot, red pepper, and a fresh pea puree
- Frittata with organic free-range eggs, sweet potato, kale, Swiss chard, onion, and peas on a bed of watercress with a fresh tomato salsa
- Baked wild-caught salmon with lemon, fresh herbs, and salt with potatoes and mixed vegetables
- Organic turkey breast stir-fried with chilies, ginger, onion, garlic, mushrooms, courgette, yellow pepper, Brussels sprouts, and kale, topped with fresh coriander