To get the most out of your workouts, you need make sure you’re fuelling your body properly before and after you exercise so you stay energised throughout your training and put all those nutrients lost back into the body once you’re finished exercising. So what are the best foods and drinks to consume before and after your exercising and how long before you train is best to eat? We’ve summed up and given you some ideas in terms of the best foods to consume to get the most out of your workout, and how best to refuel after your training session.
Pre- workout food
Pre-work out fuel is important however, physical activity on a full stomach is not fun. You want to provide your body with enough energy to workout but you don’t want to eat too much or eat too soon before exercising, as this will result in feeling sluggish or making it difficult for your body to digest food properly which will leave you feeling uncomfortable. You should try and leave it 2 to 3 hours after your last meal before hitting the gym so you have time to properly digest what you’ve eaten. Additionally, research suggests that eating a small snack (under 200 calories) one hour before exercising will boost your energy levels without leaving you feeling too full. If you are someone to likes to workout fist thing in the morning, make sure to have a light breakfast, one hour before hand.
Pre workout breakfast ideas…
- Greek yoghurt with trail mix and fresh berries
- Cooked jumbo oats porridge with almond milk and banana
- Two hard boiled eggs on whole wheat toast
- Peanut butter on whole wheat toast
- Sliced banana and cinnamon on whole wheat toast
- Protein pancakes
Best pre workout snacks…
- Protein shakes… There are a huge variety of protein powders including whey, soy, pea, rice, hemp however, do your research when choosing what is right for you as some protein powders are high in additives.
- Pre-workout smoothies… milk or yoghurt based, mixed with banana, chia seeds, berries (can also add protein powder)
- Energy bars- again be careful when selecting the best energy bars as some are extremely high in sugar.
Post workout food
Post work out fuel is just as, if not more important than what you have eaten before your training session. Regardless of what type of training you’ve done, whether it be HIIT, weight training or cardio, your body would have used carbs for energy, therefore your body will be at risk of muscle depletion. Therefore, you need to make sure you refill your energy stores so you don’t lose muscle. As muscle protein will be degraded during physical activity, it is very important to rebuild the muscle lost with a high protein, post work out meal. This will also increase your muscle recovery time, and leave you feeling less tired and more energised after your session. Your post-workout meal should contain a balanced amount of complex carbs- enough to replenish glycogen stores but not so much that you’re left to burn off extra energy. Your meal needs to be high in protein to help muscle recovery. Particularly if you are exercising to build muscle, you want to be trying to eat as soon as possible after training, preferably within half an hour of when you finish exercising. However, even if you’re not trying to build muscle you should still try and consume your meal within an hour of your session.
Best post workout meals…
- Grilled chicken with brown rice and vegetables
- Whole wheat pasta with turkey meat and green vegetables
- Grilled salmon with lemon, vegetables/salad and quinoa
- Turkey omelette with spinach and tomatoes
- Baked sweet potato with kidney beans, salad and chicken