It’s no secret that food and nutrition fuel the body. Whether you’re a seasoned
athlete or a beginner, fueling your body before and after a workout is crucial for
achieving your fitness goals. What you eat before and after a workout can affect your
performance, energy levels, and muscle recovery. What is often confusing is
knowing what to eat, when to eat and in the right amount for your body.
Before a workout
While there are no hard and fast rules, exercising on an empty stomach limits your
ability to burn calories and leaves you with less energy to get the most out of your
During a Workout
While eating during a workout is not particularly required if your workout is longer
than 45 minutes and is high intensity, eat a banana or a few raisins in between to
keep your energy levels high and of course, sip on water.
After a Workout
After a workout, it’s important to refuel your body with nutrients that will aid in muscle
recovery and help replenish energy stores.
What should you be eating?
Complex carbohydrates are a great source of energy, as they are broken down
slowly by the body and provide a steady supply of glucose. Consuming complex
carbs, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, before your workout helps to fuel
your routine. You also need some after your workout to replenish energy stores and
aid muscle recovery.
Protein is essential for muscle building and can also help prevent muscle breakdown
during exercise. It also repairs and rebuilds muscle tissue after exercise. Good
sources of lean protein include chicken, fish, beans, soy and tofu or protein shakes.
Healthy fats can provide sustained energy during exercise and are also important for
overall health. They also help reduce inflammation and aid in muscle recovery. Make
sure to include nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil in your meal.
Water, Water, Water
It’s important to stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise. Drinking water
before a workout can help prevent dehydration and keep you energized.
What to eat before your workout?
Here are some meal and snack ideas to consider before a workout:
- Low-fat muesli with soy or coconut yoghurt
- Overnight oatmeal with fruit and nuts
- Whole grain toast with avocado and a boiled egg
- Brown rice with chicken and vegetables
- Smoothie with banana, spinach, almond butter, and almond milk
If you don’t have enough time to get a meal in, eat a banana or a fruit at least 30 – 45
minutes before your workout as it gives you the energy to exercise. Avoid heavy
meals closer to your workout, they could cause you discomfort and make you
What to eat after your workout?
For your post-workout meal, you could try:
- Grilled tofu with brown rice and roasted or stir-fried vegetables
- Veggie omelette with whole-grain toast
- Quinoa bowl with black beans, avocado, and vegetables
- Hummus wrap with roasted vegetables and salad
- Protein Shake with banana and spinach. Clean Protein Powders like Origin
Nutrition come in a wide range of flavours, are vegan and are dairy, nut, soy &
Please remember that these are general guidelines to help you get the most out of
your workout. That said, it is important that you listen to your body and follow what
works best for you.