Pre and Post Workout Meals

By PCYC Ashmore Trainer, Helen Bailey

We know nutrition is key when working towards health and fitness goals, and one of the most effective ways to boost your results using nutrition is through effectively fueling your body before and after your workouts.

Good nutrition, and the timing of meals, before and after your work out can benefit your performance, replenishment, and recovery.

A good, regular pre and post workout eating routine can help to ensure you have the right energy stores to get your through your workout and will help your body to translate that workout into results. Carbohydrate-rich foods and fluids can help “top off’ glycogen stores giving you sustainable energy for exercise, while protein can help to preserve muscle mass built during a workout for example.

Pre-Workout Fuel

Fueling your body for a workout can begin up to eight hours before a session. Consuming carbohydrates in the lead up to your gym visit can give your body stores to draw from when working hard. Ideally you should then eat an easy to digest snack one to four hours pre-workout – you can test how this works for you and find your best pre-workout nutrition schedule to suit your body, workout and health and fitness goals.

A satisfying pre-workout snack doesn’t have to be complicated. The following are some easy ways to fill up before you hit the gym:

  • A fruit smoothie
  • A piece of fresh fruit
  • Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
  • Apple with peanut or almond butter
  • Wholegrain crackers with your favourite spread
Post Workout Options

Generally, you should have a hit of protein within 30 minutes post-session and protein with every meal if possible. Your post-workout protein hit is also just as easy.

Post-workout snacks could include:

  • A simple smoothie with low-fat milk, fruit and your preferred protein powder
  • Turkey on a whole-grain wrap with veggies
  • Rice cakes with cottage cheese and honey
  • Hommus and veggie sticks

Above all you should be consuming water frequently before, during and after your routine. What and when you eat can make a big difference to your performance and recovery. Well-balanced meals are important for energy production, recovery, prevention of injuries and proper growth. Both meal composition and meal timing must be individualised for each person based on gender, age, body type and the type, intensity, duration and frequency of activity. Remember that each body is different, as is each training regime, so make sure you listen to your body so you can determine what’s right for you when striving for your fitness goals.