Fitness + Health + Wisdom + Wealth

Pre & Post Workout Food Tips -Hannah Thompson

Guest: Hannah Thompson

Podcast Release Date: 11/1/2021


Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.

Steve Washuta: Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast. I am your host, Steve Washuta. Co-Founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. In today’s episode, we go over pre and post-workout meals I have on Hannah Thompson who is a registered dietitian and a personal trainer to break this topic down. You can find her at dietitian dot Hannah on Instagram or help with Hannah Hannah and I go over some basics of pre and post-workout meals.

We go over specific macros that you should or should not be having pre and post-workout should you be having fat should you be having protein should you be having carbohydrates. Should you have all three what are the ratios that you should be having pre and post-workout is your pre-workout meal different from your post-workout meal.

And go over pre-workout supplements. She gives us her take on pre-workout supplements and caffeine. And just some industry misconceptions and fads that we discuss again for more on HANA visit dietitian dot Han on Instagram. With no further ado, here’s Hannah. Hannah, thanks so much for joining the Trulyfit podcast. Why don’t you give the listeners and audience a background bio of what you do in the health and fitness industry?

Hannah Thompson: Yes, thank you so much for having me on the podcast. I’m so excited to be here. My name is Hannah Thompson. I am a registered dietitian and a certified personal trainer. Um, I kind of knew the dietitian. So I just actually graduated back in, oh, my goodness, May 2020. From Purdue University, I’ve been a personal trainer for a little bit longer.

But I am a little baby dietitian. And so I just started my first full-time career working mainly in weight management. But I do also have my own private practice called help with Hannah, which all kinds of we can always link to later, I suppose. But I mainly do like I have a YouTube channel, I have a blog. And I also have a podcast that I co-host as well. So those are kind of the main things that I work on. So yeah.

Steve Washuta: Well, I first want to ask you is that you’re both a personal trainer, you have experience there. And you’re a registered dietician about the scope of practice. We’ve talked about this a lot. And it’s something that always comes up. If you go to let’s say the National Academy of Sports Medicine, like Facebook boards, it’s a question that’s always asked is, you know, what should I be saying? What should I not be saying? What’s the extent of the information I should be giving? And although people sort of, I’ll say a talk, the talk, nobody walks the walk.

People will say, oh, you should only really give general information yet. I can go on all of their Facebook Instagrams and find out that they’re giving very specific information. So what are your thoughts on this? Where does your scope of practice lie? And what do you think it should be?

Hannah Thompson: Yeah, I love this question. I’m pretty passionate about this actually, um, is wonderful being able to be both the trainer and the dietician. Because I feel like that’s the best-case scenario because there is a very fine line that people sometimes cross, I don’t want to, you know, make anyone feel bad for doing what they’re trying to be passionate about doing.

But it is a very fine line that is often crossed, whether it’s intentional or not. Um, but I think the keyword you already said is specifics. You know, as a trainer, who’s not a dietitian, the biggest thing is you can absolutely say things like, make sure you have like plenty of protein after your workout, perhaps like get some carbs too, like that kind of thing is absolutely encouraged because it’s just normal for your clients to ask you those questions, you know, while you’re training them. But a trainer who was not a dietitian should likely not be giving out specific calorie goals or macros, or maybe give it like certain vitamin recommendations. That is where it kind of gets a little bit wishy-washy. And trainers should probably steer clear of any specific advice like that.

Steve Washuta: Yeah, and and I think that’s what most people are told as personal trainers through again, whether it’s NASCAR, National Academy, sports medicine or ACE or any of these other certifications, because Medically speaking, we don’t want to upset the applecart with someone who might potentially have another doctor or another dietician or another, somebody else giving them advice concerning that and then we’re telling them other advice. So it’s best to just sort of stay in our lanes.

That’s why again, I don’t want to go on a tirade here cuz I talked about this a lot. But that’s why it’s best to just network in the industry, right? If your network in the industry, and you have one person who does your physical therapy. I’m speaking from a personal trainer standpoint, one person who you ship out for nutrition advice and someone else for Sports, medicine, whatever it is, then you’ll never have to worry about stepping on people’s toes and you’ll get referrals back your way as well.

Hannah Thompson: Exactly, exactly. I think that’s a really important thing is to have lots of different people in your circle with all different kinds of expertise that you can always refer to instead of just trying to do it all yourself because then you cannot give your client the best care they need.

Steve Washuta: So I’m sure we can talk about a lot of different things being that we do one of the same two jobs. And there are a million nutrition-related questions I could ask you. But today specifically, we’re going to be talking a little bit about post-workout and pre-workout meals, and what exactly your body needs.

What are maybe the misconceptions about these things? Are supplements, okay to take pre-workout things of this nature. And I want to just start off for any of the listeners who maybe aren’t in our fields, who don’t know exactly what we’re talking about, could we just give a vague description of what we mean by pre and post-workout meals?

Hannah Thompson: Yes, I think it’s a great question. Um, I think people have often heard the analogy that like our body is a car needs gas to run, I really think that’s a great basic analogy to use. And food truly is fuel in that way. And if we don’t eat the right foods before a workout, we’re not going to perform optimally.

If we don’t eat the right foods after our workouts, we’re not going to recover, you know, the best that we can. So we really need to rely on food. And I’ll go over in this episode today, what exactly those foods look like that would be good for pre and post-workout. But we really need to use food as our tool to make sure that we are performing the best and then also recovering the best that we can so we can continue to perform, you know, time and time again.

Steve Washuta: Okay, so that’s perfect. That’s a great lead-in here. So we’ll start with the pre-workout. And then we’ll get to the post-workout just to sort of keeping this itemized simple carbohydrates, I guess, you know, for glycemic index or fast-acting, access to energy is what we’re told as trainers, that’s a, you know, again, limited parlance we have in the nutrition world, but that’s what we’re told.

Do you recommend that specifically, is it better to have a mixture of carbohydrates? And I’m sure that it matters based on your training, right? If I’m running long distances, as opposed to maybe doing a short hit workout?

Hannah Thompson: Exactly, yeah. So it depends on the type of training. And I think maybe, more importantly, it really matters on the timing. So we definitely want those like simple, really quick, fast-acting carbs. And I can give examples of that. And one of them I think, future questions here, actually, but we really want those simple, fast-acting carbs, per se, like perhaps two workouts in less than an hour, that is when our body would be able to best utilize that very quick source of glucose. To perform the best. If you have like, say, like an hour or two before your workout, you can absolutely incorporate more complex carbs and even some protein.

I think that would probably be the best case, actually, because that would help you to stay for a little bit longer, you know, if you had just that fast-acting card, that simple carb, but you still had two hours before your training, they would probably go right through, you probably feel pretty hungry or even fatigued during the workout at that time point.

I would say again if it’s less than an hour, simple CARB is great. If it’s one or two hours, you could absolutely include that protein even have more of a complex carb. And if you have even more than two hours, say, I don’t know, it’s like lunchtime at work, you don’t train till the evening, you could absolutely just consider, you know, have a well balanced normal meal with carbs, protein, and perhaps some kind of color or fiber as well like your veggies. I think that would be the best-case scenario there. So I think the timing really is the biggest deciding factor on what type of carb to choose specifically.

Steve Washuta: Okay, so timing is the biggest factor, and then down that next two, two items would be the type of training you may be doing right as cardio as compared to maybe an ultra marathon training and then also, food type would be very important. 

Hannah Thompson: Exactly, exactly.

Steve Washuta: All right. So let’s just talk about the general population here, somebody who is just working out three to four times a week in a gym, and they do a mixture of cardio machines and weights for just general overall health and wellness. Could you prescribe a good workout meal for them? What would be a description of some examples that they would eat?

Hannah Thompson: Yeah, so let’s kind of like break it down based on those like little time stamps I just gave. So in terms of like the lesson what our situation where you want those simple carbs that could either be like some kind of juice where it’s, you know, pretty much just straight up glucose going into your body, if it’s fructose, but anyway, you could do like a juice or like a Gatorade or have like another kind of sports drink. fruit snacks or like sports choose. If you want something more starchy you could do it like a pretzel.

I know this is very, not dietician esque, but Pop-Tarts could be a great choice. If you do want to do any kind of fruit I would shoot for a low fiber fruit at this point. So I wouldn’t do maybe like I don’t know like an apple or a paired with the skin on it, maybe shoot for more like some dried fruit, some applesauce, maybe some canned fruit, those types of things will have less fiber.

Those give you that fast energy a lot more than a fibrous fruitwood. So that would be maybe some ideas to shoot for. If you have like less than an hour, say like maybe you wake up in the morning and you work out really shortly after that. That’s the kind of thing I would shoot for, we really want to limit our fiber, our fat, and our proteins at this time. Because those things are great, we want to have those normally, but before a workout, they can really slow down digestion, and we just can’t get those carbs as excessively or as accessible to our, to our muscles and for energy.

The biggest thing is the simple carbs. And then if we have that one or two times, timespan, before I work out where we want to shoot for carbs, and protein, this might look like string cheese and a rice cake. Perhaps like a yogurt parfait, if you want to do that sports drink, I would pair it with a granola bar. Maybe a smoothie would be good getting some kind of cards from the fruit and then maybe some protein powder or something like that to kind of beef it up a little bit.

Again, high fat may not be tolerated super well, this is close to the workout either just because fat is very slowly digested, which is normally a great thing to keep us full. But that’s not the goal before I workout. And then lastly, if we had that two or more hour, where we’re just trying to eat a well-balanced meal, we’re not so much trying to get that very fast-acting simple carbon there. That would just be more of like your well-balanced plate. So carbs, protein, some kind of fiber or color from a vegetable perhaps.

So that could be like your basic old chicken veggie and rice situation or potato perhaps maybe like some oatmeal with milk and fruit, maybe like a deli meat sandwich, maybe add some fruit to that. Again, this one is a little bit less strategic about getting those fast-acting carbs and more.

Just about eating a nice well-balanced meal. If you do that two-hour meal, and then you still feel like you might want something else before your workout, you could always have that meal and then say right before your workout, add that simple carb just for that quick burst of energy. If you do feel that 234 hours is far too long after your last meal to then try to exercise on a lot of us need more energy more, more consistently than like every two, three hours or so.

Steve Washuta: Now in your fields in the field of nutrition, energy and calories are synonymous, right? So they mean the same thing that counting calories give you energy, but to the layman, they just assume energy is sort of, for lack of a better term, like their vitality, like their clear head, their ability to push through those sorts of things.

That’s how they use energy. So that leads to my next question is that you know, pre-workout drinks, a lot of them don’t necessarily have calories in them, right. But they give us quote-unquote, energy. Do you have an issue with pre-workout drinks, whether it’s the amount of caffeine they have in them or certain types? Do you anecdotally use them themselves? Just any information you have about pre-workout tracks?

Hannah Thompson: Yeah, absolutely. So there is kind of the infamous words of every dietitian, but it depends on a lot of different things. Um, yeah, in terms of like the energy I would absolutely you incur, I would absolutely encourage you to excuse me, to get your energy from food first, you know, follow that advice and kind of just gave up getting in plenty of carbs, plenty of protein, that is what’s really going to give you the fuel that you actually need. Now, I think caffeine is great, I think caffeine can be a really good thing to the add-in.

Um, but the tricky part with supplements is they are not always well regulated. That’s kind of my biggest struggle with supplements in general, including pre-workouts,, the FDA has much more of a reactive approach rather than a proactive one with supplements. And so we cannot always be 100% Sure What’s in those, whereas with food, we kind of know what’s going to be in that and we feel a lot safer oftentimes. Um, so if you do take a pre-workout, again, I highly encourage you to get your energy from food first. And if you do want a little pick me up before your workout, just you know kind of gets you excited to take that or whatever it might be, by all means, go for it. I do recommend though, looking for third-party testing through NSF consumer lab.

Those are some really great third-party evaluators. The reason that I recommend that is those third parties are able to, you know, assess the quality of the supplement. They can make sure the label is accurate. So we’re not just like saying that it’s okay but it actually has these weird things in them.

It’s also important that it’s a third party. It’s not just the supplier that company itself saying that their product is a-okay, even though, you know, they could definitely just be saying that. Um, and in terms of the caffeine, I guess I didn’t really touch on that too much. I would say, you know, the general recommendations, like about 400 milligrams per day is generally safe for most people.

If you find that you are super sensitive, you know, you take us pre-workout and you just find that you’re super jittery, you just don’t feel quite right. It may not be a good fit for you. And that’s okay. The average person really doesn’t need a pre-workout. Because again, the food is going to be the biggest thing we want to get our energy from. But I have no problem with people who take them as long as they do their research, find one that fits their needs, and maybe do their best to make sure it’s one that is third-party tested. That’s probably the best fit.

Steve Washuta: Yeah, I’ll add just one thing to that, that I think people are becoming addicted to these pre-workouts to the, to the extent that if they don’t have them, they feel like they can’t go work out. And that’s an issue, right? So I think, understanding that if you’re relying upon something every day. It’s different if it’s one or two cups of coffee in the morning, right? That’s half of America. But if you can’t have your two or three scoops, scoops of no explode before you go work out. And that could be a problem. Because now you’re going to be taking this for the rest of your life, essentially.

That’s not what you want to be doing. It’s not like you’re taking it out of your cabinet. Maybe once every 30 or 40 days when you didn’t get a lot of sleep and something bad happened. And you’re relying on it from a secondary perspective. Like you just talked about using food as the primary and using that as the secondary. I think that’s how the pre-workout has to be looked at.

Hannah Thompson: Yeah, that’s a really good point. I didn’t think about sleep either, definitely prioritize sleep as well, instead of like you just said, relying on that. Pre Workout caffeine six.

Steve Washuta: So post-workout was the sort of old school bodybuilder thought process. Was very similar to what you just talked about for the pre-workout. Where they don’t want a lot of fats because they believe it’s slowed digestion down. They did more lean meats and a combination of complex and simple carbs. Something like maybe a protein shake and you know, a half a turkey sandwich on wheat bread or something. Is this still the thought for post-workout? If not, what does science say now?

Hannah Thompson: Yeah, I would say that’s pretty great. I mean, I think that’s an absolutely fine way to think of it. I think the most controversial part is those fats. That’s kind of what has been sort of back and forth about should, we have that post-workout or not. And it truly comes down to that, yes, fats do slow down gastric, gastric emptying. And so you know, the carbs we eat can’t get shuttled to our muscles. As quickly to replenish the glycogen we use during the workout.

But what truly matters the most more so than micromanaging all these little tiny things before and after a workout. It’s going to be like what your total daily intake looks like. So even if you do eat fat, say like, right after your workout. As long as you are eating plenty of carbs and protein in general, throughout the day. You’re probably still gonna be, you know, getting adequate protein synthesis and all of that.

For our average lifter, or runner, or whoever is, you know, looking for this advice. I would not stress too much about limiting those fats unless you find that they make you feel uncomfortable. You have any kind of GI upset. Then, by all means, kind of wait to have those until it’s not like around your workout time. But I would say bottom line. The total daily intake of all these different nutrients matters a lot more than trying to. I guess I keep thinking, micromanage, but micromanage that post-workout, that that kind of makes sense.

Steve Washuta: Sure. And just to plug some of my own stuff here to help out the audience. I before this podcast will be released. The week before Wendy Hill is on and the whole podcast is about lipids and fats. The entire podcast. And she’s also, you know, she’s a nutritionist, too. So this leads or follows greatly after that podcast.

People who are listening back to back will already have an understanding of what the fats are right because some people are right, well, we talked about fats, but they don’t exactly know what sort of foods, the fats are in necessarily, right. They don’t have an idea of the Omega threes and Omega sixes and unsaturated fats saturated and poly and mono and that sort of thing.

If they listened to the podcast before this, they will, and that’ll help lead into all this. So just like we did before, Do you have some standard recommendations for the general population for post-workout meals and I will add to that, is it any different from the pre-workout meal or Could I eat the same thing pre and post-workout?

Hannah Thompson: That’s a good question. I have some suggestions. Of course. Yes. The ones you gave to like the examples that you gave are also great, you know, maybe it’s a sandwich or a protein shake or whatever. Um, I would definitely say that there’s much more emphasis on protein after a workout. Carbs are of course essential before and after, we need them before to make sure that we can fuel our workout, and then we need them after to replenish what we use during the workout.

Whereas protein, we don’t so much need that before the workout. But we will need that after workout after workout, or at least plenty throughout the day, like I was just mentioning, to ensure that we can optimally build that muscle if that’s the goal. But I’m guessing most people don’t want to lose muscle mass, so you probably should get plenty of protein. So yeah, again, your examples were great.

Perhaps it might also look like low-fat chocolate milk is a really popular, super easy, great idea. Maybe like Greek yogurt with berries, or granola, maybe like a tuna salad sandwich on maybe some whole wheat bread, the protein shake that you had mentioned, I will maybe add like a piece of fruit to that just to again, get those carbs in there as well.

Or if you get the carbs from the milk. If you are doing a protein shake with milk, and then maybe like cottage cheese and maybe some peaches, pineapple, that sort of thing. Again, the emphasis is just going to be carbs and protein after that workout.

Steve Washuta: Is there anything else relevant you can pass on concerning pre and post-workout eating, whether it be, again, the talking about the times, the food types, maybe things to stay away from that people eat? The amount, that sort of thing?

Hannah Thompson: Yeah, I would say the biggest thing, as no matter what your goals are, it’s just very important to remember that you have to eat in order to perform your best and recover the best so you can continue to perform your best. I have a sports dietitian friend who always says to bookend your workouts. We actually had her on one of our podcast episodes, I can share that.

But um, what she means by that is make sure you always eat before, make sure you always after. And that’s the best way to really fuel your body. And I just think that’s really great advice. Um, again, I really do recommend that food first approach. Because our body really just does break down the nutrients it gets from food. A lot better than it does from supplements.

If you do ever want to consider supplements, that can be a great way to, of course, supplement your diet. I just highly recommend working with the dietitian. To make sure you’re choosing ones that are safe for you that you’re not overdoing it with any particular nutrient.

I would encourage you to get your nutrients from food. But I know that can be hard to do, especially protein. For example, I myself take a protein supplement most days because I have a hard time getting in protein and that’s okay. But I would highly recommend working with a dietician, especially a sports dietitian. If you do have any particular specific questions about pre or post-workout nutrition,

Steve Washuta: Work on the audience. Find your stuff on social media and where can they maybe reach out to you directly if they have questions?

Hannah Thompson: Yeah, so my main hub is my website that is So on there, you can find all of my blog posts, I make a lot of recipes. That also will link you to my YouTube channel to my podcast, all of my social media is on there.

So that really is the main place to go. But if you have a hard time finding what I think also on Instagram and Tiktok at dietitian Hannah. Then the podcast that I had mentioned is called the upbeat dieticians.

Steve Washuta: We will link that all below in the description. And thank you very much for joining the Trulyfit podcast. We hope to have you on another episode down the road.

Hannah Thompson: Yes, thank you so much for having me. It was wonderful.

Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.

Thanks again!

Hannah Thompson




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