Pre + Post workout nutrition tips

Does feeling tired put you off your workout? Or are you just confused by advice on what to eat after exercise to get maximum benefit? Gym Instructor David shares his top tips to ensure that you’re fueling your workout and helping your body recover.

A little planning

It’s important to think ahead. If you always feel exhausted after work, you’ll be less inclined to stop by the gym on your way home, however you might only feel tired because you haven’t eaten since lunch! If you’re planning an after work class, make sure you grab a banana or a cereal bar mid-afternoon.  There aren’t any hard and fast rules and it’s good to trial different combinations and see what works for you.

Pre workout

  • If you love an early morning blast, I recommend fuelling the night before so you don’t need breakfast before your workout. My snack of choice would be toast or a small bowl of cereal.
  • If you’re planning to work out later in the day, opt for a protein rich breakfast. Small, high-calorie meals will help prevent gastric distress.
  • Aim to eat at least 1 hour before a workout to ensure that your body isn’t digesting when it should be providing your muscles with energy!
  • Avoid high-fat foods before exercising as they take longer to digest; carbohydrates will provide your body with easily released energy.
  • My favourite pre-workout fuel include greek yoghurt & berries, oatmeal and fruit, a handful of nuts and raisins, rice or oatcakes with peanut butter!

Post workout

  • After your workout,  your body needs glycogen to replenish energy stores as well as protein to rebuild muscle tissues. Absorption rates are higher in the hour post exercise, so aim to replenish in that time. I usually have rice cakes with banana & peanut butter, chocolate milk or a yoghurt and berry smoothie.
  • If you’ve enjoyed an early workout, it’s best to fill up on long lasting, slow release carbs, a bowl of porridge is perfect.
  • Your last meal of the day should be protein rich as this promotes further growth. Try not to eat too late though, as this can impact a weight-loss programme.

More top tips

  • Eat lots of leafy greens (broccoli, kale, spinach), they’re high in iron which is essential for repair and growth.
  • If you’re aiming to build muscle, add protein powder to your snacks. Whey protein powder can be absorbed within 30 minutes so it’s an ideal supplement.
  • If you are trying to lose weight avoid snacks between meals! Instead, aim to eat small meals every 3 or 4 hours. Also, be wary of sports nutrition products as they can often be really high in calories.
  • Liquid foods will absorb quicker than solids, so protein shakes or smoothies will provide energy more quickly.
  • Don’t forget about hydration!