For days you're on-the-go, a PB&J is an ideal pre-training power food to give you that carb-protein-fruit trifecta. But even if you're rushing to the gym and need something in a jiffy(!), don't skimp on high-quality ingredients -- opt for whole-grain bread (nutritious carbohydrates for long-term energy), almond butter (adequate protein to crush hunger with less saturated fat as compared to peanut butter), and organic fruit-based jam with no added sugar.
Avoid this: "Stay away from the classic locker room order of chicken tenders, fries, or hamburgers," says Hess. "Fried foods cause poor digestion, gastric distress, decreased readiness, and also promote inflammation."
Goal: After you've gotten your swole on, your body is depleted of energy and needs to be kicked into recovery mode. Hess explains that you'll want to refuel it with sustenance that does the following: promotes all-around rebuilding, reduces soft-tissue breakdown, and diminishes total-body inflammation. This will allow your newly chiseled bod to heal properly and reap the most benefits from your sweat sesh. Also, aim to replenish within the first half-hour after cooldown to effectively refill muscle stores with amino acids and keep your metabolism revved up longer.