US: What are the pre/post work out meals people are eating and is it defined by the type of activity they follow?
March 10th, 2023, Janice Fernandes

US: What are the pre/post work out meals people are eating and is it defined by the type of activity they follow?

Eating and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to improving workout performance, says Mayo Clinic, but what you eat and when is just as important. In this piece we explore what Americans eat pre/post work out and if the type of activity defines what they consume.

Latest data from YouGov Profiles reveals that over a third of Americans (33%) who work out don’t have a fixed pre/post meal plan.

Fruit is the most popular where 32% say they consume it either before or after their work out. Supplements/vitamins (28%) and protein shakes (26%) follow closely behind.

Food which is generally categorized as unhealthy is also consumed by a significant proportion of Americans who exercise. Around one in ten US consumers say they eat ice cream (11%), pizza (10%), cookies (8%) and candy (8%) pre/post work out.

Roughly one in seven Americans also pick peanut/almond butter (15%) compared to 14% who pick salad as the food they eat pre/post work out.

Preferences for these pre/post workout meals can vary significantly based on the type of exercise consumers do. Looking only at consumers who work out on their own, two-fifths of those who engage in weight training with equipment take supplements/vitamins before or after they work out (40%). While over a third of consumers who do body training without equipment say they have vitamins pre/post workout (32%), it’s protein shakes that’s most popular among this category of people (33%).

A significant share of consumers who aren’t bodyweight training or working out with weights but engage in exercises like running (42%), dancing (41%), Pilates (40%) and yoga (35%) pick fruits as their choice of pre/post meal. The next likely choice for people doing Pilates is eggs (36%), while those who go spinning pick milk (44%).

Trail mix or granola bars are not as popular among Americans who go cycling (19%). But those who go spinning register the highest share at 34%, followed by Tai chi enthusiasts at 32%.

A considerable proportion of Americans who work out on their own by engaging in spinning and Tai chi indulge in ‘unhealthy’ pre/post work out meals. Over a third say they eat ice cream (31% and 35% respectively), while 26% of those who go spinning and 30% of Tai chi enthusiasts eat pizza.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Great Britain is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

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