Fuelling your body correctly before a workout can make a big difference to your performance, how you feel throughout and also how well you recover between your workouts.
Our muscles require glucose as fuel during exercise. When we consume carbohydrates, they are converted into glycogen and stored in both the liver and muscles.
During short and high intensity exercise, your muscles will use this stored glucose as energy, hence it is important that these stores are full prior to exercising.
- A bowl of porridge with fortified nut milk
- Plant-based yoghurt with nuts and seeds
- Wholemeal toast with peanut butter
- Banana with almond butter
- A nut bar
If you love an evening workout, these could be some great options:
- This Isn’t Chicken salad wrap
- Jacket potato (white or sweet) with a mix of beans or lentils
- Wholegrain rice with our vegan chilli
- Protein Chipotle Soup
How long should I wait to train after eating?
Ideally, you want to be having your pre-workout main meal 2-3 hours before working out. This should be a well-balanced meal (including a mixture of carbohydrates, fats and protein to provide adequate energy to fuel your workout). Having this a few hours before exercising, allows for digestion to occur prior to beginning your workout to avoid any stomach discomfort during the workout.
What about after a workout?
Post workout nutrition is equally as important for recovery. When we exercise, we use up and deplete muscle glycogen stores, the storage form of glucose. It is therefore essential to replenish these stores with carbohydrate rich foods. The intensity and duration of your workout will determine the quantity of carbohydrates you need.
Within about an hour after your workout you want to be having a balanced meal of whole foods. It’s common not to feel overly hungry straight after exercising, which is when a substantial smoothie may be a good option!
As we exercise, muscle fibres are damaged, so it is also essential that we rebuild these and support growth of new muscle tissue with adequate protein. Sometimes we hear people stress about not getting their protein shake in quick enough (30 min window) but you don’t need to worry about this. Just make sure you have a high-quality source of protein in your post workout meal, as well as throughout the rest of the day. Some great examples are:
- Beans, chickpeas and lentils
Finally, hydration is also key - both before, during and after your workout. You lose fluid during exercise through sweat, so it is vital to rehydrate and replenish the fluid loss after your workout with plenty of water. Sometimes adding a bit of fruit squash or electrolytes to your water is a great idea!