When it comes to training, nutrition is king.
Whether you are a competitive athlete or just training to become the best, fittest and strongest version of yourself, we need the right amount of calories, macro and micronutrients in order to grow, repair, and recover.
What to eat before, during, and after a workout.
note* this is just a guideline based on research. You do not have to follow these as different people might have different preferences. Find what works for YOU!
You might be making your session harder than it needs to be if you haven’t fuelled enough before your session. While I understand some people (including myself) don’t always like eating before training, it really does make a difference. Now I wake up a little bit earlier so that I can have enough time to eat before my session.
3-4 hours before: Eat a meal filled with protein, complex carbs, and fats. The fats will slow down the digestion of the protein and the carbs, and the complex carbs will release energy slower.
In my opinion, anything over 15g in fat is considered a higher fat meal when we are thinking about nutrition around training, but that’s just me.
- Steak with wild rice, cheese sauce, and vegetables
- Wholewheat sandwich with avo, chicken breast, and light mayo/ bbq sauce
- Salad with roast chicken, vegetables (all colours), with some seeds on top
- Lentils/ quinoa with extra lean/ lean beef mince with some cheese and tomato pasta sauce
- Eggs & wholewheat toast with a side salad
- Chicken schnitzel, tomato & basil pasta sauce with boiled baby potatoes.
- Beans on rye toast
- Rolled oats, whey protein powder, berries & nut butter
Honestly, any meal that contains all 3 macronutrients, focusing on around 25g+ of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats will do.
1-2 hours before: Eat a snack/ small meal with protein and carbs and as little fat as possible. You don’t want to eat too large a meal too close to training as this might upset your tummy and set you up for a not-the-best/ uncomfortable session. We don’t want to eat too much fat as this slows down the digestion which might mean that the energy isn’t as available for your session as what you would want. We can still have complex carbs, but nothing too high in fibre. You can also opt for medium to higher GI foods.
- Cereal with low fat/fat-free milk & a protein shake (or you can mix the whey with the milk or water for the cereal ‘milk’)
- Egg white pancakes (see my Instagram for a recipe)
- Chicken & white rice
- Low fat/fat-free cottage cheese on crackers/ rice cakes
- Quick oats/ cream of rice with a scoop of whey / vegan protein
- Smoothie: low fat/fat-free yoghurt and/ or low fat/fat-free cottage cheese, and berries.
I don’t recommend having anything during training unless your session is 90 minutes or longer (long cycle, run, or heavy lifting session with lots of rest). In this case, you will need to top up your glycogen stores in order to keep going. Here we want quick digestion carbs only to keep the gut happy:
- Sports drinks like Energade/ Powerade/ Game,
- Sports energy gels
- Rice cakes
- Gummy sweets like wine gums.
In general, we want protein and carbs after training to support recovery as soon as possible. Remember, fats slow down digestion, which is why we want to keep fat as low as possible with our post-workout meal/ snack. You can keep these similar to your snack/ small meals that you would have 1-2 hours before you train, but I would focus on having even more cabs if you can.
You do not need to have a protein shake as soon as possible, but I do recommend having your post-workout protein asap if you didn’t eat any before your session. But don’t forget your carbs! These are so important for recovery. And if you are not recovering properly, then you will not progress.