What to eat before and/or after your workout

Trying to be healthy is a balance between our diet and exercise and we have to admit it’s not always fun. At times we may feel like we just don’t have the energy to hit the gym or our last meal is making us feel like we may burst.

When it comes to eating around workouts there can be many instances of confusion. Should we eat before we workout, what will give us enough energy without feeling full or bloated?

Before your workout

Sometimes it can be hard to eat before exercising and some studies state water may be all you need if your are doing something low intensity or less than 45 minutes long. If you are working out for longer than 45 minutes have a light snack** If you are doing a long workout or something more intense, carbs are what you need, as they will help provide you with the energy you need. If you are doing a tough workout, not eating beforehand can result in a lose of muscle mass and reduced performance in your workout.

Below are some tasty options to consider before your workout;

  1. Toast and almond butter is a classic preworkout meal with some carbs and protein to give you energy.
  2. Greek yogurt and some granola is great for runners as it will slowly release energy. Get granola with nuts to give you some healthy fats but make sure you don’t have too much as it could make you feel sluggish later. Protein pancake mix packet
  3. Protein Pancakes are a quick and easy way to get both carbs and protein and can be topped with whatever you are craving.Protein Works Porridge
  4. Protein Porridge is another quick and easy meal which can also be good if your on the go, as these ones from Holland and Barrett come in a handy pot.
  5. Smoothies are great way to get energy and increase your fruit and veg intake. I like to make a blueberry and banana smothie, check out the recipe below.

 Smoothie Recipe

  • Frozen sliced banana – about 100g
  • Frozen mixed berries –  100g
  • Frozen Spinach – about 50g
  • Protein powder – I use banana flavour – one scoop
  • Baobab flavour – 2g or 1-2 teaspoons
  • Almond Milk – 300ml
    • Put it all in a blender and mix on high for about a minute or until you get your desired consistency.
      • This recipe will make two servings.Fruit smoothie in glass with black and white straw

After your workout

Eating after your workout is possibly more important than eating before as you need to eat to not only restore your energy levels but your muscles themselves. As you exercise your muscles use up their energy stores and break down. After the workout your muscles will try to repair themselves which is how you become stronger. If you do not provide your body the energy to repair itself you can become more susceptible to injury and muscle loss. Try and eat with half an hour of ending your workout for best results. Eating protein after your workout will help your body the most.

After working out, some tasty options are;

  1. Salmon on a protein bagel. Salmon is a good option as it reduces inflammation which can help the joints after a workout. You could add a light layer of cream cheese or hummus to get some healthy fats and extra protein.
  2. Protein shakes are a great option if you are short on time. They allow for a quick way to intake protein and increase your water intake. There are many protein shake flavours available and the sweet ones may also be able to help curb your cravings. When choosing your shakes just beware of some brands who may add extra sugar.almond bounce ball
  3. Protein balls are also a great option if you are in a rush or just need something to keep you going before you can get home for a proper meal. These are small and easy to carry with you. I recommend Bounce balls and you can read more about their range here.
  4. Tuna and Hummus salad is easy to prepare but filling at the same time. Tuna will provide the protein to help your muscles and the hummus can help increase your healthy fats. This is a dish you can customise depending on what you have in as it will go with a variety of veggies.
  5. Eggs are a great source of protein and can be prepared multiple ways to suit most tastes. Boiled and poached are the healthiest ways to cook eggs but a veggie omelette or scramble is also a great source of protein and veg after a workout and quick to make.plate of Veggie Egg scramble

What ever you decide to eat before of after your workout remember to stay hydrated, water is very important for good health. Also always remember to listen to your body when exercising, if you feel sick stop. If you feel lightheaded, stop. When starting a new fitness regime look into what may be the best options for you and start slow.

If you would like further information on meal timings before a work out or extra supplements I found the Healthline website interesting. Click here to check it out.