If you’re new to working out, you probably have a lot of questions when it comes to your diet. What to eat? When to eat? How much to eat? It’s no secret that nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. The food you eat is the fuel behind your performance.

First, when to eat?

Make sure you get your nutrition in at least 1 – 3 hours before a workout. While not eating before a workout can tire you out easily, eating right before a workout can lead to tummy troubles. This is because while you exercise, your body and blood is working for your muscles, leaving less for digestion. It is also key to refuel after you finish working out.

Now, what to eat before a workout?

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Your ideal pre-workout meal needs to be rich in carbs that are easily digestible, moderate in protein and low in fats.

If you have the time for a meal try

–       Oatmeal with plant-based milk

–       Brown rice with pulses

–        A peanut butter & jelly sandwich with whole wheat or multigrain bread

If you’re running short on time for a sit-down meal or you just need a snack to boost your energy, try

–       Trail Mix

–       Banana

–       Plant-based Yoghurt and Fruit

–       Energy Bar

–       Protein Shake with water or Plant-based milk

After a workout

Refueling after a workout is key for muscle recovery and repair. Carbohydrates and protein are important within 2 hours of your exercise session. If your next meal is more than 2 hours away, consider a snack to re-energise and stave off hunger.  Ideal post-workout foods include:

–       Smoothies

–       Nuts (almonds, cashews and pistachios)

–       Chocolate Milk (Plant-based)

–       Protein Shake or Smoothie

Protein Shakes are a good alternative for a pre or post-workout meal, filled with carefully calculated, clean nutrients. Brands like Origin Nutrition have the added benefit of being vegetarian and vegan.

Finally and most importantly, stay hydrated! Before, during and after working out, drink adequate fluids to prevent dehydration. Water or energy drinks are ideal to replace lost fluids.