Food As Fuel: What You Should Eat Before And After Exercise

what you should eat before and after exercise

The right nutrition before and after exercise can improve your results. As a car uses gas, your body burns carbohydrates as fuel.

They give you the power to go through that jog or fitness class. When you’re done, you can refuel with a combination of proteins and carbohydrates to help rebuild muscle mass.

Ready to get the best out of your workout?

Take it at the right time

Try to eat a bite or a meal 1 to 3 hours before your workout. You can have abdominal problems if you eat just before that. This is because more blood goes to your muscles during exercise, resulting in less digestion. After exercising, your body is ready to refuel and build muscle tissue. Eat within an hour of finishing.

Do you have to eat protein after exercise?

It’s a good idea because it aids the recovering and growth of your muscles.

You do not care if the protein comes from a hard-boiled egg, a glass of chocolate milk or a shake of whey protein.

Whatever you choose, more is not better. You only need 10-20 grams of protein for your muscles.

These are the foods that you have to eat before training


eat banana before exercise

Do you only have 5 or 10 minutes for your training?

Snack on a banana. Their easily digestible carbohydrates make you stronger without weighing down.

They are also a good source of antioxidants and potassium, a mineral that can help prevent muscle cramps.

Throw one in your sports bag for a last-minute snack.

Oatmeal with skimmed milk and fruit

Oatmeal with skimmed milk and fruit

Do you train in the morning?

Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal and fruit of high fiber. Your body digests the carbohydrates in this combo slower, so that your blood sugar level remains more stable.

You feel more energetic for longer. For an extra dose of protein and bone-building calcium, stir in some skimmed milk.

Trail Mix

It is known as a walking staple, but trail mix is a good snack for every workout. Raisins give you a quick energy attack that is easy for the stomach.

Mix a hand with a few almonds, rich in protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fat. They also have an antioxidant that can help your body use oxygen better and give you better training results.

PB & J

The bread and jelly in this bread box container serve the carbohydrates. PB and J gives you the energy your muscles require during exercise.

The peanut butter adds a dose of protein, which makes you feel full, which can help to ward off binge eating after training and drinking.

Research even shows that eating small amounts of peanuts can help maintain a healthy weight. Led on an easy walk or to yoga class? A half sandwich is perhaps all you need.

Low-Fat Latte and an Apple

Low-Fat Latte and an Apple

If you are a coffee drinker, drink a latte for that morning or during the lunch course.

You get proteins from the milk and the caffeine can relieve the muscle pain and increase the calories burned during exercise.

Combine it with an apple for high-quality carbohydrates.

One warning: caffeine can damage your sleep, so avoid it in the afternoon. You could exchange the latte for a glass of skimmed milk or a piece of rope cheese.

Fruit and yogurt Smoothie

Smoothies are easy to digest, so you will not feel slow during your workout. But many versions bought in the store contain a lot of added sugar.

Set up your own version with protein-rich yoghurt and fruit, which is packaged in energy-promoting carbohydrates.

Mix it with water or ice to stay hydrated. Research shows that too few fluids can zap your strength and endurance.

What to eat after Exercise

Greek yogurt and fruit

A cup of this creamy treat serves more than 20 grams of protein. Filling your bowl with fruit adds carbohydrates that give energy.

If you use antioxidant-rich blueberries, you get even more benefits. Research shows that eating it after training can help with muscle inflammation caused by exercise.

Egg and whole wheat toast

Egg and whole wheat toast

The carbohydrates of the toast return the energy you burned during exercise, while the fibers keep your blood sugar level the same.

Serve it with an egg to improve your results. They are a complete protein, which means that they have all nine essential amino acids that your body uses to build muscle.

No time for scramble after training? Pack a hard-boiled egg with a wholemeal bun or crackers.

Salmon plus sweet potato

This fish is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fats) that can relieve post-workout muscle inflammation that causes pain.

Combine salmon with a sweet potato for 26 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber to keep you full.

You also get all the immune-enhancing vitamin A you need every day. Serve your sweet potato roasted or pureed, but skip the high-calorie butter and cream. Use a dash of olive oil instead.

Chicken, brown rice and vegetables

There is a reason why chicken breast without skin is seen as a slimming food: half of the pack contains 27 grams of protein in just 142 calories.

It also contains a lot of vitamin B-6, a nutrient that is important for your immune system.

Serve it with brown rice and vegetables for the right combination of carbohydrates and nutrients.

Whole grain Turkey Wrap

After you have completed your training, you can prepare this easy snack or lunch. The whole grains give you fiber-rich carbohydrates, while the turkey contains 12 grams of protein per 3-ounce portion.

Swap the mayo for creamy avocado, it contains a lot of potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can prevent muscle cramps.

Plus: Avocado is also packed with heart-nutrient unsaturated fats and many vitamins.

Chocolate Milk

This favorite from childhood has the ideal ratio of carbohydrates to proteins about 4 to 1 to refuel and rebuild your muscles.

One study showed that athletes who received a glass after a workout recovered faster than those who only had a sports drink with carbohydrates.

In addition, chocolate milk contains 90% water, so it replaces some of the fluids that you lose during exercise.


This is what you have to eat before, during and after

Drink up

Provide enough water. How much? Use the following guidelines:

  • For sports: about 2 to 3 cups
  • During exercise: about 1/2 to 1 cup every 15 to 20 minutes
  • After exercise: about 2 to 3 cups for every kilogram you lose during training (you can weigh yourself before and after your training).

Sports drink?

If you exercise for an hour or less, water is all you need to stay hydrated. But if you go longer, you have to replace electrolytes.

These are minerals, such as sodium, potassium and magnesium, which help you stay hydrated. You lose them when you sweat.

Look for a drink with electrolytes, such as a sports drink or coconut water.

Which foods to avoid to eat before and after exercise?

Stay away from rich, greasy food. Fat takes your body longer to digest, which can lead to an upset stomach.

For some people, a lot of fiber or protein is not accompanied by physical exercise. Everybody is different, so pay attention to what works for you.