It’s no secret that food and fitness go together. How many times have you heard the phrase “diet and exercise?” While these two concepts fit nicely, they function on other levels, too, especially when it comes to exercising. 

Here are the best foods to eat before and after a cardio workout.

The Cardio Difference

While all exercise gets the heart rate up, workouts that target the cardiovascular system are distinct from those that aim for muscle growth. 

Since cardio workouts rely on endurance and consistent energy outputs, you’ll need longer-lasting energy sources in your body beforehand. 

That means you shouldn’t work out on an empty stomach. For example, you shouldn’t skip breakfast before a morning bike ride. You may become dizzy from the lack of sugars and proteins in your body.

Before the Workout

Aerobic exercise pushes your endurance to its limits. In this state, your body will need all the energy it can get. That’s why you must eat at least one hour before doing cardio. 

Your food needs time to settle and break down into stored energy. If you’ve ever tried sprinting on a treadmill with a full stomach, you know the outcome isn’t great. 

You’ll want to eat foods low in sugar and fat with some protein and plenty of carbohydrates. Peanut butter, bananas, oatmeal, veggies, and berries all work wonders. This way, your body has a reliable source of energy it can burn slowly.

After the Workout

After working out, your body enters a state known as the metabolic window. Within thirty minutes of exercising, you have an increased capacity for nutrient intake. 

Your body will absorb and digest food more efficiently than at any other time of day. Take advantage of this time with a post-cardio snack, like a fruit smoothie or hard-boiled egg. 

Try to replenish the carbs and proteins you expended during the workout. After this snack, let another thirty minutes pass, and then fill up on electrolytes. Protein smoothies and coconut water can do the trick.


Knowing the best foods to eat before and after a cardio workout can help you operate at peak performance. When you eat well and set yourself up for success, you can optimize your workout routine every single day.


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!