What to eat before and after your workout?

That moment when you decide to bring your birthday resolution to action, you join a gym. You buy that new pair of sneakers and then you overhear people talking about what they eat pre and post workout, and you are totally clueless about it because you thought starving pre and post workout will help you reduce quickly.

Your fitness checklist included everything- “Avoid unhealthy food, work out regularly, burn calories, good sleep, and so on”…. so how did u miss out on pre and post workout food?

If you want your body to work smooth like a machine, you need to fuel it at the right time with the right food. Avoiding eating just before the gym is a good practice but that doesn’t mean that you don’t eat at all before a workout. Eating junk will just be counterproductive, and can leave you feeling uneasy and bloated. So get the right stuff—it’ll maximise your energy and your gains.

workout, exercise

The importance of eating the right thing at the right time before a workout?

Pre workout food is a mandate as it boosts you up with that necessary fuel to make it through the last ten minutes on the treadmill or through that last set of crunches. It brings up your blood glucose level for that added energy.

However if you are an early riser and prefer going to gym early, to wake up, even earlier won’t be very appealing, even if you know all the added benefits of doing it. Isn’t it? The concept can still work out if you have a minimum travelling time of 30 mins in which you can grab a banana or Dahi (yoghurt).

So now the subsequent thing that comes up is “What if I skip it?” To be very honest, if you have not noticed a decrease in your performance in spite of skipping your pre-workout meals, then don’t worry about it, but keeping a bottle of glucose handy won’t be a bad idea either, in case you are in need of some instant energy.

Best timing for eating before a workout depends on various factors like size of your meal, type of food that you are eating, and your fitness goal. Ideally, a light snack 1-2 hours prior workout is ideal, however if you are planning to hit the gym post a heavy meal, 2-3 hours of gap period is recommended.

As fat takes the longest time to digest followed by protein and then carbohydrates. A diet low in fat, moderate protein and moderate to high in low fibre carbs is ideal.

What to eat before a workout?

  • Breakfast cereal with milk
  • Banana with almond butter: Bananas are rich in digestible carbohydrate, which provides us with enough energy to workout. It also has high amounts of potassium, which helps to maintain nerve and muscle function
  • Oatmeal: Oats are a rich source of fibre. They gradually release carbohydrates into your bloodstream which keeps your energy levels consistent during your workout.
  • Apple and walnut
  • Whole grain bread: Top it up with peanut butter or jam, you can also have 1-2 hard boiled eggs with it.
  • Brown rice with black beans.
  • Fruit salad with fruit-flavoured yoghurt or Dahi.
  • Baked beans on toast
  • Cereal bars


Why eating after a workout is important?

So, after all, that struggle you have successfully managed to push yourself to the gym and you are now thinking of rewarding yourself for the great workout! But with what? Samosas and pizzas? And after that, you end up feeling guilty for not sticking to your diet chart.

The diet post workout is as important as any other meal of the day. Many people have a misconception and they consider it as eating in between meals which eventually spoil their appetite for the next meal and adds up the calories which they just burnt. But this is a myth as post workout, muscles are depleted, damaged, and biochemically primed for nutrient uptake and a healthy post workout meal replenishes muscle glycogen, reduces muscle protein breakdown, increases muscle protein synthesis, reduces muscle soreness, lowers cortisol levels, enhances overall recovery.

Well, do you know, health experts say that there is a window of opportunity, which lasts up to one hour after a workout, and if you eat something which is healthy will reap you awesome results.

So let’s help you in choosing some good options for your post workout meals and we promise you that it will be yummy.

If you are a non-vegetarian:

  • Grilled chicken with lots of vegetables
  • Egg white omelette with wrapped veggies, cheese. You can also add chicken shreds to it.
  • Salmon fish: It’s a rich source of protein and also contains heart healthy omega 3 fats.
  • Scrambled eggs—add veggies to make it more nutritious.

If you are a vegetarian:

  • Plant-based protein like beans, sprouted grams can be a great option for you.
  • Dry fruits and nuts
  • Chapattis with peanut butter wrap. Add your favourite veggies to it. Do not forget to add broccoli.
  • Cereals with skimmed milk

If you don’t prefer solid food post workout, go for chocolate milk with protein powder or fruit smoothie

If you are a bachelor or if you are staying alone and cooking becomes an issue for you, go for an oatmeal once you reach home and always carry bananas in your gym bag for instant post workout meal.


Consult a top Dietitian/Nutritionist

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  • Nutrition Care Manual. Nutrition therapy for endurance athletes. <http://nutritioncaremanual.org/vault/editor/Docs/Endurance%20Athlete %20Nutrition%20Therapy.pdf> Accessed May 12, 2016
  • SCAN. April 2009. Eating before exercise. Nutrition Fact Sheet, Issue 3, nutritincaremanual.org.Accessed May 12, 2016.
  • Nutrition Care Manual. Nutrition therapy for strength athletes—football, http://nutritioncaremanual.org/vault/editor/Docs/Football%20Strength %20Athlete%20Nutrition%20Therapy.pdf>Accessed May 12, 2016
  • Rodriguez NR,DiMarco NM,Langely S. Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. J Am Diet Assoc.2009 Mar;109(3): 509-527.

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