Have you ever felt like you were weighed down by what you ate before a workout? Or felt your pre-workout snack rising up in your throat as you're boxing or doing burpees? Yeah, me too.

Luckily for you, after three years of taking boxing classes and one year of being a boxing instructor, I've experimented enough to give my recommendations on the best things to power you through an intense, hour-long sweat sesh, and to help with post-workout muscle recovery.


1. Banana and Nut Butter

peanut butter, peanut, butter, chocolate
Jocelyn Hsu

A classic combo. I used to down triple decker PB and banana sandwiches before swim practice, and the combination of banana and nut butter remains my go-to pre-workout snack. It's filling yet quickly digestible.

#Spoontip: Looking to get more carbs in, or need something more filling? Just top some toast with a banana and almond butter instead. Bonus points if you drizzle cinnamon and honey on top for additional energy!

2. Juice

Perfect if the thought of eating food before working out makes you nauseous, but you want some energy nonetheless.

#Spoontip: Check out The Juicery, Mother Juice, Cocobeet, JUGOS, and Juice Press for juices!

3. Energy Balls

chocolate, coconut, candy, sweet, cookie, truffle
Kristi Cook

These chocolate almond energy balls are great because they're Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, and contain dates for quick energy.

4. Rice Cakes with Almond Butter

Rice cakes are a great form of pre-workout carbs. Try 1-2 cakes topped with almond butter and some granola for an amazingly crunchy and satisfying snack.

5. Bulletproof Coffee or Espresso Shot

I used to swear by drinking a vegan version of bulletproof coffee (aka coffee with a ton of fat added) before teaching doubles. It's full of long-sustaining energy to power through a high-intensity class. Caffeine is proven to increase your endurance, so if you can't stomach all the fat of a bulletproof-style coffee, try a shot of espresso instead.

#Spoontip: Try these Bizzy Coffee shots—they have zero added sugar and were made by guys who were competing in a 24-hour obstacle race!

6. Oatmeal or Cauliflower "Oats"

This is perfect if you have more than an hour before class. I have multiple friends who swear by pre-workout oatmeal; it has complex carbs and fiber to keep you full but also give you energy.

#Spoontip: Paleo? Try cauliflower "oats" — it has the same benefits but without the grains.


It's important to refuel with nutrient-dense foods ASAP after a sweaty boxing class. Your muscles will recover quicker, so you can hit the bag again without feeling too sore. Depending on how much time you have, here are some of my favorite options.

1. Smoothie

smoothie, sweet, juice
Christin Urso

Whether you make your own smoothie or buy one, make sure it has enough protein, carbs, and fat. One of my favorite combos is spinach, banana, almond butter, and hemp protein — you can easily find this at most smoothie shops or make it yourself.

#Spoontip: Sub collagen for the protein powder — collagen aids muscle health and contains a ton of protein.

2. Watermelon Juice

watermelon, juice, sweet, melon
Kathleen Lee

Watermelon contains the amino acid L-citrulline, which helps reduce muscle soreness.

#Spoontip: Want to make your own? Check out this watermelon juice recipe.

3. Coconut Water or Maple Water

Coconut water is a natural form of electrolytes and contains more potassium than a banana, which makes for great post-workout recovery.

#Spoontip: If you're looking for something lower in sugar, maple water is a great alternative. It's also high in electrolytes.

4. Tart Cherry Juice

cherry, sweet, berry, sweet cherry, juice
Jocelyn Hsu

Evening workout friends, this is for you. Tart cherry helps decrease muscle damage and reduce inflammation, but it also helps you sleep — a double win, since working out at night can release endorphins that make it harder for you to fall asleep right away.

5. RX Bar or Other Clean Protein Bar

Protein bars are easy to throw in your bag if you're running from a workout to class. Many protein bars contain artificial sugars and ingredients, so look for one with ingredients you can pronounce, like an RXBar.

6. Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon and an Egg

bread, vegetable, toast, sandwich
Heather Feibleman

There's nothing better than a good avo toast. This is perfect if you're working out before breakfast (or brunch!). It contains a great mix of carbs, protein, and fat to prevent post-workout hanger.

#Spoontip: If you're Paleo, try making this with sweet potatoes instead.

7. Greek Yogurt with All the Toppings

The great thing about yogurt is that it's a quick, easy, and protein-rich food. It's also the perfect vehicle for any topping imaginable.

#Spoontip: Vegan friends, try Kite Hill Foods Greek-Style Dairy-Free yogurt — it's just as thick as normal Greek yogurt and has a good amount of protein!