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What To Eat Before & After Your Workout, According to a Nutritionist

Proper nutrition is a critical component of any successful workout regimen! That means that eating the right type of foods at the right times can significantly impact your...

Proper nutrition is a critical component of any successful workout regimen! That means that eating the right type of foods at the right times can significantly impact your performance, recovery and results.

Whether you're an athlete or just starting your fitness journey, understanding what to eat before and after your workout can make a huge difference. Here's what you need to know…

 

Before your workout: Fuelling up for success

 

Carbohydrates: Your quick energy source

Carbohydrates are your body's primary source of energy, especially during high-intensity workouts. Consuming carbs before exercise ensures that you have enough glycogen stores in your muscles. This readily available energy helps you power through your workout properly.

 

Protein: The building blocks

Including protein in your pre-workout meal helps with muscle repair and growth. While carbs provide the energy to fuel your workout, protein prepares your muscles to handle the stress of exercise and aids in recovery.

 

Avoid fats: Keep it light

While fats are an essential part of a balanced diet, they should be limited before a workout. Fats slow down digestion, which can delay the delivery of much-needed fuel to your muscles. Since exercise also slows down food absorption, consuming high-fat foods can leave you feeling sluggish and heavy.

 

Great pre-workout food options:

  • Greek yogurt with a banana
  • Whole grain toast with scrambled eggs
  • Oatmeal topped with berries and a scoop of protein powder
  • Cottage cheese with sliced pineapple
  • A smoothie made with low-fat yogurt, berries, and a handful of spinach

 

After Your Workout

 

Balanced meals to replenish & repair

Post-workout nutrition is all about recovery. Your body needs a mix of carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores, protein to repair muscle fibers, and some fats for overall health.

A balanced meal within an hour of finishing your workout is ideal. Aim to consume around 30 grams of protein after working out to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and aid in muscle recovery.

 

Great choices:

  • Grilled chicken with quinoa and vegetables
  • A turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with a side salad
  • A smoothie with plenty of protein powder, fruits, and a handful of nuts
  • Brown rice with poached eggs and stir-fried vegetables

 

Avoid excess omega-3s: Why timing matters

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and overall health benefits.

However, consuming very high amounts of omega-3s immediately after a workout can interfere with the muscle synthesis process. This is because the acute inflammatory response from exercise is crucial for muscle breakdown and the resulting repair.

 

What to avoid right after workouts:

  • Large portions of fatty fish like salmon or mackerel
  • High-dose omega-3 supplements
  • Flaxseed oil in large quantities

 

Key takeaways

Focus on consuming carbohydrates and protein before exercising to ensure you have the energy and muscle support needed.

After your workout, opt for a balanced meal that includes carbs, protein, and fats, while being mindful of not overloading on omega-3s and antioxidant supplements to ensure optimal muscle recovery.

Fuel your body right, and you'll be on the right path to achieving your fitness goals more effectively and efficiently!

 

 

Written by Zaheera Swing - Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist

(BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD)

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