Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

Whether you’re gearing up for a spin class or a bike race, a jog around the block or a marathon, getting the right nutrients can make all the difference when it comes to actually going the distance. Your pre-workout fuel doesn’t have to be flavorless, though, as the following chefs prove. Read on to find out which of their power-packed dishes are perfect to devour before any sweat session.

Chef Jeff Mahin
A Simple Yet Supercharged Combination
Jeff Mahin, chef of M Street Kitchen (Santa Monica), Summer House Santa Monica (Chicago and North Bethesda, Md.) and Stella Barra (Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Calif., Chicago and North Bethesda, Md.), knows a few things about prepping for a workout. The chef is an avid biker who can often be found cycling when he’s not in the kitchen. For his pre-workout fuel, he keeps it simple with two tablespoons of pistachio, honey and orange nut butter. “This is a great way to start your exercise, because when you eat fat prior to working out, you start to train your body that fat is a good fuel source,” he says. “There are 9 calories of energy in 1 gram of fat, as opposed to 4 calories of energy in protein and carbs.” Since the nut butter contains so many good fats, as well as some carbs and proteins, Mahin’s deceptively simple combination is packed with enough energy to keep you going for up to 90 minutes of a workout, he says. “It seems counterintuitive, but I assure you it works — also drink water!”

For Mahin, the nutrients don’t stop after the workout ends, as he considers what you eat in recovery mode another integral factor of any fitness plan. “Recovery is something overlooked by a lot of people,” he says. “We hit the gym, the bike, the beach and push ourselves to the point of exhaustion. What you eat next will determine how you feel after the fact.”

For his post-workout recovery, Mahin whips up a “Kick Ass” shake. “This post-workout shake combines protein, simple carbs, complex carbs, fats and coffee — each of the ingredients plays an integral role into getting you well fed, recovered and ready to face the world,” he says.

“Kick Ass” Shake
1 banana
4 tablespoons protein powder
1 tablespoon nut butter — almond or cashew (chef suggests Justin’s)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 ounces iced coffee
1/4 cup organic oats
2 dates
Water and ice

Blend all of the ingredients together.