When it comes to exercise, eating directly before or after may seem counter-productive-you’ve just burnt those calories, why would you want to consume more? However what we fuel our bodies with is vital to gaining maximum results, and it’s as important as the workout itself. You should be aiming for a high protein intake, complex carbohydrates and good fats – think of yourself as an engine with the best fuel and maintenance, it can only perform better.
As such, here’s our recommendations for pre- and post- workout meals.
Complex carbohydrates are key here if you want to make sure you keep up during your session. Falling behind the rest or even having to stop isn’t going to be a good look. Instead, before you head to the gym make sure you get in some good whole grains, think rye bread, oats, sweet potatoes and vegetables.
Not only are they high in fibre and vitamins, they also keep your blood sugar and glycogen levels maintained, slowly releasing energy, which means you can go further.
If you can’t face something heavy before a workout then opt for something like a smoothie. Mix in ingredients such as bananas (which are a complex carbohydrate), dark fruits such as blueberries for a hit of antioxidants, along with full-fat Greek yoghurt and, for extra protien, a spoon of good quality peanut butter or a shot of protein powder.
After the workout your body is going to be burning up a lot of calories. Don’t wait to eat, you want to have eaten within an hour and preferably something protein based for optimal muscle repair. Keep packets of nuts handy, roasted soya nuts, and of course eggs-whether they’re straight up boiled or scrambled on wholemeal toast they’re nutritionally dense and low fat, chuck in a handful of dark leafy vegetable such as spinach or kale or half an avocado for an extra nutrient hit.
Stick to this regimen and watch on as your gains and overall performance improve. Just remember next time you grab your trainers to fuel up – eating isn’t cheating.