There’s no doubt that eating the right foods before and after a workout makes a huge difference to your performance and recovery. 

Every athlete and exercise lover knows how important the right nutrition is, for a good performance. Your body can’t possibly function optimally, unless you fuel it right. So, you must make sure you eat the right kind of foods, before and after a workout.

Eat 30 minutes before you exercise

Putting down a heavy meal just before you hit the gym can make you clumsy or even nauseous. But working out on an empty stomach is also a big no-no.

For an optimum performance, fitness experts advise a light pre-workout snack, at least 30 minutes to an hour before your routine. After your workout, go for a meal that facilitates quick muscle recovery, within an hour of finishing your exercise.

Your choices depend upon your metabolism

Bear in mind that your body is unique, and you must devise a plan based on your needs, and  metabolism. Also, make sure you supplement your meals with plenty of water, and a rehydrating sports drink, to help you recover from electrolyte loss.

Pre-Workout choices

Salmon steak with asparagus and sweet potato mash served on white plate

#1 Go for the Carbs 

Carbohydrates break down easily into glucose, providing instant energy to your body. So, mix simple and complex carbs with a boost of protein, to get the slow energy release that lasts throughout your exercise routine.

For example, have a pre-workout snack of a granola bar, a fruit, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, dry fruits, mixed seeds, an egg, a banana or a slice of whole wheat bread.

#2 Choose easy-to-digest foods

Don’t eat high fat foods like seeds and nuts in large amounts, since they are hard to digest. Also, avoid spice-laden snacks, since these are likely to affect your digestion and cause heartburn, interfering with your workout.

#3 Smoothies offer quick nutrition

If there’s one sure and steady food guaranteed to boost your workout, it’s a smoothie. So get the blender out, and create a smoothie from the healthy ingredients in your fridge and larder. You can include fruit, protein powder, yoghurt, milk, cocoa, peanut butter, and so on.

Post-workout options

F2 Making the right pre and post workout food choices - 3

#1 Go for high protein and complex carbs

The body craves glycogen after exercise, so a post-workout meal that is rich in protein and complex carbs facilitates quick recovery.  If you weight train, then make sure you follow this prescription.

Some energy boosting workout meals include grilled chicken with vegetables, vegetable omelet with avocado, a combination of salmon and sweet potatoes, chicken or lean meat with steamed rice and vegetables or a whole-wheat sandwich with spinach and tuna fish.

#2 Go for Chocolate milk

Chocolate milk is the latest craze in the post-workout snack category, since it packs a huge nutritional punch. Aside from calcium and sodium, this contains sugar, milk protein, and antioxidants, which boost muscle repair.

But before you gulp down a ready made container of chocolate milk, make sure you read the label. Better still, make your own at home. Use whole milk instead of skimmed, and throw in a spoonful of peanut butter to add to the nutritive value.