What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Knowing what to eat before and after your workout can help your body to work to its full efficiency. It’s incredibly important to eat before a workout, as failing to do so for a sustained period of time can send your body into survival mode. This means that your body tries to draw protein from your muscles, rather than your kidneys and liver, and then you may actually lose muscle mass and slow down your metabolism. Also, when you finally do eat, your body will often store this food as fat just in case. Luckily, we’ve got some top tips on what to eat to stop those hunger pangs, increase your efficiency and give you the boost you need pre-workout!

A bowl of fruit and yoghurt pre-workout

What to Eat Before a Workout

Eating proteins and fats is the best rule for your pre-workout snack. If you’ve got a special meal-plan or are in training for a competition/big event, it’s best to seek advice from a professional, as you may need to switch up your usual pre-workout meal. If you’re having a meal or a big snack, its best to consume this at least an hour before exercising, for smaller snacks, this can be consumed up to 15 minutes before. Here are a few ideas on what to eat:

  • Carrot sticks and hummus
  • A cup-full of apple and walnuts
  • Almond/peanut butter with sliced banana/apple
  • Greek yoghurt topped with trail mix/muesli
  • A fruit/veg/protein smoothie
  • Protein-energy ball
  • Half an avocado and a poached egg

a chicken salad, the perfect meal after a workout

What to Eat After a Workout

Eating after a workout is just as important as eating before, if not more important. Again, something that contains protein, fats but also carbs should be eaten within 30-minutes of finishing your training. This fuels your body to repair and rebuild your muscles and can help to speed up your metabolism. Here are a few post-workout meal ideas:

  • Burrito bowl (beans, brown rice, avocado, chicken/tofu, salsa)
  • Grilled chicken and roasted vegetables
  • Salmon and sweet potato
  • Chicken salad
  • Protein shake/chocolate milk (yes, you’re allowed to indulge in chocolate milk!)

A glass of water on a stone table

Staying Hydrated

Ensuring that you drink a suitable amount of water is almost more important than what you eat. Drinking too much water before a workout can inhibit your performance and leave you feeling a little bloated. However, not enough water will lead to dehydration and may put your body into panic mode. If you’re exercising with a goal of weight loss in mind, not consuming an appropriate amount of water can actually inhibit the way your body burns fat and set you back on your goals. Water can speed up your metabolic rate and aid your performance.

How Much to Drink Before a Workout

Two to three hours before your workout (where possible) you should ensure that you’re drinking enough fluids, at least 500ml. Pair your pre-workout meal or snack with water, and keep a bottle by your side during your warm-up. This will help to prevent you from needing sports injury treatments such as our cooling bandages!

How Much to Drink During a Workout

You should ensure that you’ve got a bottle of water available during your workout to take frequent sips, especially if you’re working out for a sustained period of time. Ensure that you don’t gulp down too much water at a time, however, as this again can leave you feeling bloated and can even mean you’ll have to cut your workout short.

How Much to Drink After a Workout

Within an hour of finishing your workout, you should aim to drink a further 500ml. During exercise your body can lose up to a quarter of its water content, therefore you must replace what is lost. Don’t forget to keep topping up your water levels throughout the day; the golden rule has always been to drink at least two litres of water a day, but this amount can actually vary from person to person. There are plenty of online calculators that can help you find out how much water you should be consuming a day, as well as many that can help you keep track of your intake.

What do you like to eat/drink before and after a workout? We’d love to hear from you via our social media channels!

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