The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Exercise



If you exercise on a regular basis then you need to make sure that you are eating the right kind of foods. Some foods are better than others at providing the extra energy that your body needs when you are following a strict exercise regime. According to some experts[1] if you don’t eat before exercising on a regular basis, it can result in muscle loss.

When you haven’t eaten before exercise and you are hungry, your body starts to fight for survival and draws in protein from your muscles, thereby resulting in losses in that area. If you are trying to lose weight, some foods are better at burning fat than others and so eating them before you work out can be beneficial.


Foods to Eat Before Exercising

Protein and complex carbohydrates are the most beneficial foods to eat before you start exercising. Foods such as brown rice, broccoli and sweet potato or a banana or other fruits with oatmeal, are ideal for eating before you work out. You also need some essential fats before you embark on a strenuous exercise programme. You could also try some fruit with plain Greek yoghurt before your session.

Ideally, you should eat some of the above essential foods a couple of hours before your planned workout as that gives your system the right amount of time to digest it.  Eat something that is low fat and contains fluids, which you will need while exercising. If you need an extra burst of energy then try a banana or a handful of dried fruits such as raisins about three quarters of an hour before your planned exercise.

Whole-wheat toast with banana and cinnamon is great to eat before your workout as it provides you with all the essential foods that your body needs for the extra energy you will use. Food that is easily digested is the main criterion before exercising. When you exercise your body will use the energy stored in your muscles that should have been fed in before a workout. You need to replenish what the body has used after you have finished exercising.

Some other foods to keep in mind:

  • Whole-grain breads/bagels/pasta/crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Honey (source of natural sugar)
  • Granola/Cereal
  • Nuts


Foods to Eat After Your Exercise

If possible you should eat or drink something around half an hour or an hour after you have finished exercising. Your body uses extra fuel when you are working out and this needs to be replenished after your session has finished. Try something light such as lightly cooked vegetables and grilled chicken; you don’t want anything too heavy after a strenuous workout.

A Spanish omelette with plenty of vegetables is another great thing to eat around an hour or so following an exercise session. Try grilled salmon with sweet potatoes as this will replenish essential fats and complex carbohydrates. Ideally you will eat different food combinations at different times of the day.

If you have a lunch time exercise session then meat or cooked fish and vegetables might not be convenient. Try a sandwich made with whole wheat bread, tuna, humus and spinach as this combination helps to boost your system and lower blood pressure after a workout.

Some other foods to keep in mind:

  • Chocolate milk
  • Turkey
  • Avocado
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Cereal



Author Bio:

This article was written by A. Elliott; a keen cyclist with a passion for fitness and nutrition, she provided these tips for, the UK’s leading retailer of electric bikes.