What Should You Eat Before, During and After a Gym Workout?

What Should You Eat Before, During and After a Gym Workout?


We all know that our body is our vehicle and that we need to keep our engine well fuelled.


Fuelling the body means consuming the right amount and type of food and fluid before we exercise, during exercise, and after exercise. Regardless of whether you are looking to build muscle mass or lose weight, you need to maintain blood glucose concentration for maximum performance and to improve your recovery time so you can get back into the gym as quickly as possible.


Should You Eat Before or After the Gym?

Many people wonder whether it’s best to eat before or after gym sessions, or in the middle of a workout. This really depends on your individual training program, however, there are some key things you can do before, during and after your work out that will really help with those all-important gains! 


Fuelling Up: What to Eat Before the Gym

  • Hydrate with water before you exercise.
  • Have a pre-workout meal or snack that includes healthy carbs like whole-grain cereals, whole-wheat toast, low-fat or fat-free yoghurt (try Greek yoghurt as an alternative), whole grain pasta, brown rice and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid saturated fats and even a lot of healthy protein, as these types of fuels digest slower in your stomach and take away oxygen and energy-delivering blood from your muscles. 
  • If you only have 5-10 minutes before you exercise, eat a piece of fruit like a banana or an apple.


Pulling in for a Pit Stop: What to Eat During a Workout

  • Keep your body hydrated with small and frequent sips of water.
  • Try branched-chain amino acids supplements (BCAAs) as an intra-workout drink. BCAAs immediately provide you with essential amino acids and energy and they require no digesting – plus, they usually have low or no calories.
  • You won’t need to eat during a workout if you are training for less than 60 minutes. If you’re training for longer then try eating 50-100 calories of carbohydrates every 30 minutes, such as raisins or bananas.

 

Time to Refuel: What to Eat After Exercise

  • Drink plenty of water following a workout.
  • Try a post-workout protein shake immediately after your workout. Your muscles will thank you for it as they soak up the protein and nutrition for muscle recovery and growth.
  • Look for a protein like Whey Protein that is low in sugar and high in protein per gram.
  • Eat foods high in lean protein to assist in repairing and growing muscles.


Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines and that we all have different goals with different training programs. While some people choose to eat before and after gym sessions, others might find that their body adapts best to eating once training is over. One thing is certain; it is important to remain well hydrated in the hours before you exercise and also to drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses.


Trial different foods and fluids, and you’ll be sure to work out what’s best for you. Keep aware of what you put in your body before, during and after you exercise and keep a track of how your ‘engine’ is performing as a result.

Author