Pre & Post Workout Nutrition 4 MIN READ 391 VIEWS February 25, 2021

What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Written By Jyoti Jaswal

post workout meal

Figuring out what to gulp down before and after workout sessions can sometimes be a real struggle. Our body is like a vehicle and to keep the engine running, we need to fuel it with the right type  and amounts of foods and drinks at the right times. 

Adequate fluid and foods should be consumed to maintain the blood glucose concentration in the body during your workout sessions. A good pre workout meal or post workout meal can help to  maximize your exercise performance and  improve the recovery time. Drinking enough water/ fluid and remaining hydrated  both before and after workout can help athletes to balance their fluid losses.

  1. Pre-workout diet: 

Let us first discuss what to eat before a workout:

Eating food  before exercise can give your body a boost in energy  to get the most out of  your workouts. If you do not eat enough before a workout session then it might lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, or lethargic.  Not eating pre-workout food before a workout session is like driving a bike without petrol.  Infact, pre-workout supplements or foods can help to prevent injury.

The first thing to do is to choose proper pre-workout foods as per workout timing. Also, one needs to consume pre-workout foods 30 minutes prior to their exercise regime. You need to customize your meals as per the timing of your workout. 

Let us suppose you workout in the morning and it is not possible to consume a full course meal as breakfast. Now the question is then what to eat before morning workout? Well! You can eat two bananas with one glass of milk or simply choose a pre-workout supplement

If you are working out in the evening then you can have one slice of brown bread with eggs/baked chicken breast.  However, having a banana before workout sessions is the best thing that one can do.

To answer your question what should I eat before a workout, here is a list that shows some of the best pre-workout foods that you can have before workout:

  1. Protein

Here are some of the best pre workout food sources that contain protein:

  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Soy
  • Whey protein
  • Milk
  • Tofu
  • Cheese

Wondering why  you should eat before working out? Here are some reasons:

  • Helps in muscle protein synthesis
  • Helps in boosting your energy levels
  • Best pre workout meal for muscle gain
  • Helps in better anabolic response or muscle development
  • Helps in providing muscle strength and lean body mass
  • Improves performance
  1. Carbohydrates

The best pre workout meal must include the following complex carbohydrates rich foods:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes

The benefits of consuming carbohydrates rich food before workout:

  • Carbs can increase increase glycogen stores in the body and boat carb oxidation during exercise
  • They can increase your energy levels
  • Carbs can help to improve your performance
  1. Fats

If you are wondering what to eat before gym, then you should include the following healthy fats in your diet:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

The benefit of using fats is that it can help in fueling your body and give you the requisite energy to workout for long hours. You can also choose to have a pre workout snack that includes fruits, milk, cheese, brown bread, peanuts, etc.  However, it is important for you to have a balanced diet that includes more protein and carbohydrates than fats.

B. Post-workout diet:

As we already discussed what to eat before a workout, let us now discuss what to eat after a workout to build muscle and stay healthy. After a strenuous workout session you need to refuel your body just the way you would refuel the tank of your bike/car.  Eating after a strenuous workout is required to replenishing all the calories that were used up during the workout.

  1. Hydration

You must drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. You can also drink fruit juices or energy booster shakes. This will provide your body with electrolytes and other vital nutrients that are required for your body to function properly.

  1. Protein

All the protein rich foods that are mentioned above as pre-workout foods can be used as post-workout foods as well. Eating protein can help in speedy muscle recovery especially if you are into weight training or any other heavy duty exercise. Protein rich foods are the best thing that should be included in your post and pre workout meal for muscle gain and development. 

  1. Carbohydrates

You can have complex carbs in little quantity to boost your energy levels. All the complex carbs mentioned above can be consumed as post workout foods as well.

Every body type is different and your food intake depends on your age, gender and type of workout routine. Ask a nutritionist and make a proper diet plan to know what suits you the best.

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