Many people have a love/hate relationship with working out. Most of the time, however, hateful feelings towards the gym spawn from having inadequate energy levels while exercising due to improper nourishment both pre- and post-workout. This can cause you to feel both mentally and physically depleted, drastically decreasing your mood. 

Whether you hit the gym for the sole purpose of maintaining fitness, to lose weight or gain muscle, or to work off your frustrations, it is extremely important to replenish the nutrients you lose in your sweat. From personal experience, I have found that a lot of people do not realize the importance of having adequate levels of magnesium and potassium in the body, and I, myself, only know this fact because of my mom, another avid runner. When my body is lacking in these essential nutrients, I get Charlie horses and light chest pains, which I take as signals to go eat a potassium-rich banana or some magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds. I also take this magnesium supplement three times a week to fully replenish my electrolytes. 

Running is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding activities out there. If you're just starting out and are struggling to get in those tough miles, remind yourself of the benefits to help keep yourself going. Don't let your struggles discourage you because even the best runners have days when their bodies are tired, making it harder for them to complete a run. Whenever I'm exhaustingly huffing and puffing while trying to make it up a hill, I use the food that I'll be eating afterwards as motivation to endure the burn. Food is not only a great source of motivation and positive reinforcement but also a necessity after strenuous exercise to restock the nutrient stores in your body. As long as you're eating the right types of foods (with some treats in between :p), you'll be able to stay fit, happy, and healthy and keep doing the things you love. So, after your next sweat session this week, reward yourself the right way with one of these nutritious and fortifying post-workout snacks.

cherry tomato, tomato, pasture, vegetable, cherry
Caroline Ingalls

1. V8 with lemon juice, turmeric, pepper, and celery.

If you didn't already know, V8 is actually gr8. This is my go-to post-workout snack because of just how nutritious it is. One small 5.5 fl oz. can of V8 packs in an entire serving of vegetables, 700 mg of potassium, 80% of your daily value of vitamin C, and 25% of your daily value of vitamin A. Talk about healthy. While salt is important after a long workout, make sure to get the low-sodium V8, as the regular version has a much higher salt content. By doing so, you, yourself, can control the amount of salt going into your drink and, ultimately, your body. To complete this nutritious post-workout snack, add in the juice of one lemon, 1/4 tsp of turmeric, and a few cracks of black pepper. Supplement this drink with some celery and other green veggies for a light, nutrient-dense post-workout snack. This is a recipe for major inflammation-reduction, and your muscles will thank you after.

sweet, juice, kiwi fruit
Kenny Rapaport

2. Avocado and kiwi on Ezekiel bread. 

If you've been pounding out those burpees like they're nothin' and are looking for something a little heavier after a workout, this is your snack. To make it, mash 1/2 of an avocado, spread it on a slice of Ezekiel bread, and top it with a sliced kiwi for a mean and green healthy snack. Many people associate bananas with having high potassium (which is true) when, in fact, kiwis take the gold for the fruit with the highest amount of potassium. Pair this with the healthy fats from the avocado and the whole grains from the Ezekiel bread, and you've got a snack fit for a kind or queen.

blueberries, blueberry, berry, sweet, Healthy, Fruit
Tess Tarantino

3. Cottage cheese with olive oil, blueberries, and fresh ginger. 

Yogurt is so yesterday. Switch things up a bit and snack on some cottage cheese to get your daily servings of probiotics, fiber, and protein. All of these nutrients are great for your body, especially after working out. For added benefits, throw in 1/4 cup of blueberries for antioxidants, a swirl of olive oil to get some heathy fats, and fresh ginger for anti-inflammatory and body-cleansing effects. This snack will keep you feeling full for a couple of hours and give you the energy boost you need to go about your day. 

Oatmeal Bowl, bananas, banana, jelly, peanut butter, vegetarian, Healthy, Vegan, Bowl, cereal, Breakfast, oats, oatmeal
Laura Subiaur

4. Sliced banana with cinnamon and nut butter.

For those of you looking for a lighter alternative to a nutritious post-workout snack, give this one a try. Slice one banana into a small bowl and top it with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and 1 Tbsp of nut butter for the creamiest and dreamiest of healthy snacks. Top it with some granola or ground flax seeds if you want to make it even more nutritious. The flavors meld so well together and taste so yummy that you won't believe this snack is as fortifying as it is. The potassium from the banana will guard you against muscle cramps from lack of electrolytes, and its sweetness will restore some of the energy you expended by working out. The nut butter will supply enough protein to hold you over until your next meal and will give your body a jump start on building up muscle. And, the cinnamon will help stabilize your blood sugar, keeping your energy levels consistent, could a healthy snack get any better?

milk, coffee, smoothie, sweet, milkshake, cream, yogurt
Christin Urso

5. Erin's Famous Post-Workout Power Smoothie

This is the snack I make for my gym buddies after we finish working towards our daily #gains. It's naturally sweet and packed with nutritious ingredients that will supply you with the energy you need following a strenuous workout. To make this delicious post-workout snack, blend together 1/4 cup almond butter, 1 large fresh peach or 3/4 cup frozen peaches, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 cup whole milk, and a dash of cinnamon until emulsified and smooth. Some things to remember: Early Fall is the end of peach season *sigh*, but don't let that stop you from making this even during the dead of winter. Most grocery stores sell bags of frozen peaches year round, which work wonderfully in this post-workout snack. Also, choose frozen over fresh cherries, as frozen cherries give the smoothie an even better, heartier consistency. 

*Disclaimer* I am not a doctor or physician, and these recipes are simply dietary tips and ways of refueling that I have found work best for me as a runner :)