What Top Fitness Instructors Really Eat to Refuel Post-Workout

Ever wonder how the pros really refuel and recover in between action-packed workouts? We asked fitness gurus to get the scoop on their go-to snacks, meals, and drinks.

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Superfood oatmeal

oatmealiStock/john-shepherdKelsey Patel, owner and instructor at Pure Barre Beverly Hills, is a big believer in eating different types of food during various times of the day. "After my morning workout, I love Purely Elizabeth oatmeal and load it up with fresh fruit, honey, bee pollen, goji berries, and whatever else I have in the cupboard. My newest obsession is JeM chocolate hazelnut butter, and I add about a tablespoon to the oatmeal." Try these 10 delicious ideas to make overnight oats more flavorful than ever.

Green smoothie

smoothieiStock/Nadianb"After teaching a class, I love to enjoy a homemade green smoothie," says Mary Caroline Craig, board-certified integrative nutrition health coach and cycling coach at Live Alive Fit in Seattle. Her recipe: Phytonutrient and iron-rich spinach, avocado for healthy fat, lime juice, easily digestible plant-based (rice and pea) protein, maca powder to boost muscle recovery, high fiber psyllium husk and chia seeds, and antioxidant-rich, frozen organic blueberries.

Homemade protein bar

barsiStock/jjpooleHow does Andrew Ash, barre3 Corporate Master Trainer, refuel and recover after class? A barre3 bar—packed with dates, almond butter, goji berries, and flax. "I'm not big on cooking or baking if it involves a lengthy process, so when this recipe came out I was so relieved that I could finally make a healthy snack that didn't take an entire Sunday to prepare. All you do is take all the indigents, put them in a food processor, spread the mixture in a dish, and put it in the fridge—DONE!"

Protein pancakes

pancakesiStock/nata_vkusideyCelebrity fitness trainer and USANA fitness ambassador, Erin Oprea powers up with protein pancakes—a good combination of protein and healthy carbs. Her recipe: Coconut flour, flaxseed, USANA plain whey protein powder, three egg whites, and almond milk, topped with cinnamon and blueberries. Want to build more muscle? Make sure these nine foods are in your diet.

Apple with almond butter

05-apple-What-Fitness-Instructors-Actually-Eat-and-Drink-488662823-vaphotogiStock/vaphotogLisa Schale Drake, barre3 master trainer and director of training, keeps it simple. "An apple with almond butter gives me the protein and fiber my body needs, and it's an easy post-workout snack."

Banana nut muffin and blueberry smoothie

banana-muffinsiStock/tenkende"I tend to go for healthy carbs such as a banana nut muffin and a smoothie with blueberries, protein powder, bananas, and almond milk," says Steph Petruccio, SLT suburb instructor development manager.

Raw carrot-cake energy bites

bitesiStock/MizinaAnother one of Drake's go-to snacks? Raw carrot-cake energy bites. The combination rolled oats, pecans, shredded carrots and raisins make a great energy-stabilizing snack. Watch out for these 13 post-gym mistakes could ruin your workout.

Quinoa bowl

quinoaiStock/joshuaraineyphotography"I've been on a huge warm grain bowl kick lately," says Lindsay Bucci, lead instructor at Recycle Studio in Boston. She opts for quinoa bowls with kale, spinach, sweet potato, broccoli, grilled chicken, avocado, and beets. Her advice: Make the meal pop with color, protein and carbs to help your body recover and replenish after a grueling workout.

Kind Bar and coconut water

kind-barsiStock/Tatiana-Volgutova"My go-to post-class snack—especially in between classes or training sessions—are Kind Bars Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt and Harmless Harvest Coconut Water," says Allison Tibbs, NASM certified personal trainer in San Francisco. "The Kind Bar delivers a good dose of protein and a touch of sweetness, which is great for keeping my energy up and my blood sugar from tanking, while, the coconut water is a perfect hydrating beverage that isn't packed with sugar." Need a little motivation to hit the gym? Check out these gym-bag accessories that will make you psyched to work out.

Protein shake

protein-shakeiStock/allgord"I know the importance of eating immediately post exercise—ideally within half an hour—to build lean muscle tissue," says Ramona Braganza, global fitness expert and celebrity trainer (who has shaped the bods of Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, and Dakota Johnson). Immediately after working out, she drinks a shake with Vega vanilla protein powder, antioxidant-rich berries, unsweetened almond milk. "I add banana to thicken it up, almond butter for good fat, and chia seeds a loaded with nutrients for body and brain." Sadie Kurzban, founder of 305 Fitness, is also a fan of post-workout smoothies. "If I'm on the go, I make myself a quick protein shake (with whey or pea protein) with unsweetened almond milk."

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