This might seem simple to some, but to many; the sheer number of contradictory advice regarding the best nutrition to accompany exercise can leave you feeling confused – and even be detrimental to your training. Whether that’s in the box, on the rock or on the bike, find out how best to fuel your body before, during and after your exercise below.
Before exercise – fuel your tank
The key here is to supply your body with enough energy to maximise the exercise you’re undertaking. Not eating anything before a workout can lead to low blood sugar and subsequent light-headedness and fatigue.
‘Fuel up’ two hours before beginning your exercise – hydrate your body with plenty of water, and healthy carbohydrates such as oats, whole grain cereal and brown rice. Ever had that sickly feeling? Before exercise, be sure to avoid saturated fat and too much protein (Max 20g) as they’re harder for your body to digest and remember – this is not designed to be a meal; more of a snack to prepare your body for something more intense.
Don’t have much time but in need of some fuel? A banana is our go to food of choice 20 minutes before exercise, although other fruits such as apples work just as well.
‘Top up’ – during exercise
During any form of exercise, keep your body hydrated with sips of water. For more lengthy exercise (well beyond an hour) opt for fruits such as bananas or even energy bars. These kinds of periods of time could also benefit from swapping your water for sports drinks.
After exercise – refuel
Your body will be running low on fuel at this point. During ‘recovery mode’ your body requires nutrient-rich lean protein and carbohydrates. You’ll notice many gym addicts reaching straight for a protein shake post workout – this instant hit of protein helps to repair and grow your muscles. Similarly, carbohydrates are essential for fueling your muscles – you burn a lot of these during exercise.
A typical post-workout meal could consist of grilled fish or chicken, brown rice and vegetables.
So in summary…
Hydration is key, opt for carbohydrates before and after exercise and fuel up on protein post workout to get the best possible results out of your body.