Dear Cassey: What should I eat before and after I workout?

Hi Cassey,

I am doing your workouts and seeing amazing results! However, I have a few questions about eating before and after workouts.

When do you eat before a workout and what do you eat? I used to workout as soon as I woke up on an empty stomach with just water, but I’ve read that you need to take in something light.

If I eat before a morning workout, does that count as breakfast? Or can I have proper breakfast after? For example, today I gobbled down a half boiled egg and a banana. Is that okay?

Thank you! 

Working on the Details

blogilates 90 day journey pb j smoothie bowl in teal bowl with fresh fruit

Hey Working on the Details!

I’m so happy to hear that you’re seeing results! And you’re putting in the work to keep learning and improving!! WOOHOO!!!

The diet part of a fitness journey is definitely the most confusing part (in my opinion at least!) I used to have so many of the same questions: should I eat before a workout? How long before a workout?! And what’s the best thing to eat?!

It can get really stressful trying to plan and figure it all out. But reaching out for support like you are right now and doing lots of research is how I finally figured it out.

Here’s the best thing I learned though: for the most part, it’s all about what works best for YOU. Some people prefer to workout in a “fasted” state (in other words, early in the morning with no food before). Some people NEED to eat something before a workout. Honestly, it’s totally fine to workout before you eat as long as you feel good! If you’re feeling like you don’t have much energy during your workout, then having something beforehand might be helpful.

If I’m working out later in the day, I usually keep my pre-workout snacks small and simple so it’s light on my stomach but will still give me energy. Something like a smoothie or a banana with a little peanut butter if I’ll be working out within an hour. You could also grab something like nuts, a hard-boiled egg, slice of deli meat, or Greek yogurt.

And yep, you should definitely eat after your workout! Even if you had a snack before your workout. I always try to replenish 3 things after a workout (especially a hard one):

  1. WATER
  2. Carbs
  3. Protein

Some examples are things like…

  • Eggs with a starchy veggie like sweet potato or fruit
  • Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts
  • Veggie omelet with fruit
  • Toast with peanut butter and banana
  • A high-protein smoothie

As for the snack you mentioned above, a boiled egg and banana is also great! I’d just go for more than half of an egg so you can make sure you’re getting plenty of protein 🙂

I try to eat as soon as I can, but I know sometimes that’s tough. If you’re not going to be able to eat a meal within the hour, at least try to have a snack! And hydrate hydrate hydrate!

I hope this is helpful! Planning your pre and post-workout food can make a really big difference in how you feel during your workout, and your results later on! Experimenting to find what is easiest for you and makes you feel the best is all part of the journey.

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

26 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: What should I eat before and after I workout?”

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  1. Madhu Parik says:

    Hello!! I have been doing your workouts for a month now but still not getting used to the ones related to plank. Like the plank walk opener or any workout that is a variation of planks. My whole body starts shivering and I cannot hold that position for more than 10 seconds. Do you have some advice that can help me with this?
    P.S. I love your workouts😍

    1. A fellow plank-er says:

      Disclaimer: I’m not an expert, but I’ve been an athlete for years and planks have been a steady part of my workouts. Your body shaking isn’t uncommon while doing a plank, but if you can’t hold it for more than 10 seconds and you’re shaking the whole time, you might be progressing too quickly (your muscles and joints might not be ready). There are some plank variations you can do with your knees bent and supporting some weight. I’d suggest starting there and working your way up to a full on plank position. Good luck!

  2. Mandy says:

    You should watch Greg Doucette’s videos on Youtube – he explains why fasted cardio does nothing to boost your workouts (in any case, they hinder your workouts even more as you have less energy to exercise)

  3. Shlomit Avni says:

    First, thank you for this! It was really helpful. In the same subject- why it is so important to eat after your workout? For what I know after your workout you keep burning more calories and if you don’t eat after it burns your fat. I’m always do my workout at night anyway so I not eat after, is that bed?
    Thank a lot!
    P.s sorry about my English, I’m not American or something

  4. anee says:

    hi cassey! Great article! I was wondering if you could share your daily workout with us? Like what workout you do everyday? It would give me some inspiration thank you so much!

    1. blogilates says:

      Ohhhhh that’s interesting!!!

  5. Nikki says:

    Hi Cassey ,
    So I would like to start working out again. I’m an artistic individual , I am scattered in my focus and planning is something I work on. My food choices are quite healthy but I get easily fatter if I do not work out. Especially when I get very good bread from my boyfriend he baked himself and the culinary shops here in the Netherlands after a birthday. ( and no I don’t have hagelslag ,search at google people eat this stuff on bread, at home )
    I am a vegetarian and most of the time I do not eat that much dairy. Mostly I eat veggies. But still by not working out I have been gaining weight. And I have been finding it hard to make work out territory in my living room. Nevertheless , I like my curves and I look healthy. But I just want to feel fit again. I cycle and walk because I’m Dutch but it’s not much of a challenge.
    To be losing weight I probably have to work out maybe 2/3 hours a day which I did back when I lived in France and did 20 km walks + walking everywhere because my bike got stolen , this was 2 years back I have been weighing 62 kilos , lived in France then, and with my body type it looked like I was too skinny.
    I felt too light and being curved all my life I actually felt weaker and not used to it being so skinny.
    And my question is : do you have a set of videos for starting to work out as a beginner ?
    Or are all the videos you have done nice for a great start up?
    Because I would like to build the workout sessions naturally and gradually.
    Ps, if you want to hear Dutch I can speak it for you; grondwaterbeschermingsgebied 😂
    But if you would , would you like to help me out ?

    Kind regards,


  6. Shilpy Malhotra says:

    Hi, Cassie! I only do one workout a day for example flat abs workout on Monday, 12 minutes to toned thighs on Tuesday and bridal arms on Wednesday and so on. Is that sufficient to tone my body? Or will I see the results very slowly?

  7. loving my body :) says:

    Hi Cassey! Recently I have started losing weight, i counted my calories and even did your workouts!! I was so happy that other people were seeing results but now I don’t see any changes. I think that it’s because of my metabolism or maybe my stress levels. Maybe you could discuss it more!! I have also been bloated but I know now that it was just my period coming 😂

    Maybe I am too you d to be dieting and working out this much, I am 13 years old and I started working out recently in quarantine. But I did dance for a long time so the amount of physical activity wasn’t too foreign to me. I hope you can reply to this. Excited too see what you’ll say!¡ Thank u Casey 🤍🤍

    1. loving my body :) says:

      young*** :>>>

  8. Yasmina says:

    Do you have to eat straight after a workout? Sometimes if I’m fasting I’ll work out on an empty stomach and won’t eat for hours for example I’ll finish working at 10am and I’ll at 5pm.

  9. Sonya says:

    I can’t workout after I eat. I usually workout first thing in the morning, but even if I reschedule to the afternoon or evening, I have to wait at least 2 hours after a meal, otherwise I don’t feel good at all. I’ve also encountered the “you must eat before workout!” recommendation but I simply perform better when I don’t. Everyone is different. 🙂

    1. Maria K. says:

      I’m right there with ya girl! If I eat first thing in the morning, I actually feel tired all over again and sometimes even a little sick. Instead of working out, I feel like going right back to bed lol If I eat before working out, I feel bloated sluggish, and actually burp doing v-ups and it’s just all around squicky gross. I always eat right after my workout, though. Even if I don’t really want to be bothered to stop and eat, my stomach doesn’t give me a choice by that point lol I need post workout snacks!!! I love that Cassey emphasises that everyone’s metabolism can work so differently. I’ve been in the same boat as you people trying to tell me how wrong it is that I don’t eat breakfast or before a workout 🙄 for me, its just counterproductive. Why would I want to give myself indigestion while I’m doing burpees!? My favorite quick post workout go to is rye or pumpernickel bread slices and a tub of spinach dip 😍 what’s your favorite thing to eat post workout? 😀

  10. Emily says:

    I also workout first thing as soon as I wake up, (due to my work schedule) and then I have my breakfast and fruit afterwards. I’m still working on the balance though, because I find myself super hungry soon after and lunch is too far away! Xx

  11. Confused says:

    Dear Cassey, I am a bit confused…
    How should I lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, without lifting weights? I mean… Is it possible?
    Also, I am/was in a recovery after an eating disorder, and I just want to eat intuitively, but mindful… I don’t know how should I manage these things at the same time.

    Love, Confused

  12. İrem says:

    Cassey, yogurt is actually not Greek food, it’s Turkish.

    1. blogilates says:

      I’m referring to actual greek yogurt 🙂

    2. Mihika says:

      Greek yogurt is a type of yogurt

  13. Sharon says:

    I personally think Working on the Details is overthinking the “diet” aspect of their journey a bit. I think it’s good to be mindful of hydration and macros (to an extent) when it comes to bodybuilding (which is essentially what we’re doing when we embark on a fitness journey of any sort), but personally I find that I feel my best when I eat when I’m hungry, not at pre-set times or pre-set numbers of meals (breakfast, lunch, etc). This might mean eating 3 times one morning, or not eating till the afternoon another day. One way or another, I think simply giving ourselves permission to eat, period, is just as important as giving ourselves permission to exercise (and rest!) 🙂

  14. Carmen says:

    I can’t workout without having a small snack or else I will feel very low on energy during the workout and I will not perform as well.

  15. Krish says:

    Protein post workout gives excellent results. It’s a must.

  16. Lili says:

    I always wanted to know why I feel so hungry after working out. I do yours and I am starving! What I am doing wrong?

  17. I do a lot better in a fasted state! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  18. Roberta says:

    I work out in a fasted state, and it works so well for me, because I feel lighter that way, and my body can wait a couple hours to have food after waking up (I think my stomach wakes up later). However, drinking water before, during and after the workout is critical! I do eat before doing yoga in the evening, or it feels like I’m going to pass out! Just pay attention to your body. It’s constantly “talking” to you.

  19. Lauren says:

    I like to workout about 30 minutes after I eat a big dinner at night. Should I still eat a snack afterwards even though I go to bed soon after I workout as well? Or should I eat a lighter dinner and eat a snack after I workout?

  20. Lauren says:

    I like to workout after like 30 minutes after I eat dinner and then I shower and get ready for bed. Should I still eat after I workout even though its later at night? Or should I eat a lighter dinner and workout earlier/ eat a snack after?