What to eat and when to eat it? It's one of our most asked questions.
Look, there’s no magical meal you can chow down on that’ll turn you into Lara Croft - but there are certain things you can eat to get the maximum benefits out of your workouts!
FYI - what we say here isn’t bible. Everyone is different - some people have a sensitive stomach and can’t down a breakfast before their morning workout. And others may feel sick eating after a workout. But the general rule is that pre-workout nutrition is about performance, and post-workout nutrition is more about progress and recovery. Here's what to eat before and after a workout for maximum workout benefits!
NB: Enjoy a meal or snack at least 30 mins before a workout.
Don’t forget them carbs
In order for your body to get through your workout, it’s going to need an ample amount of glycogen. And where do you find such thing? Carbs, ladettes. Carbs = energy, and when we eat them they break down into glucose, enter our muscle cells, and give us energy to exercise to maximum capacity! When our bodies start exercising, glycogen is broken down and glucose is released into our bloodstream. Before you break a sweat, it’s good to back some low gi- carbs that can be digested easier and provide energy at a steady pace.
What happens if we don’t have glucose? Well, you’re most likely to feel weak, tired, and likely to give up. Or you know - just stay in bed and continue napping.
Snack ideas: nuts with some greek yoghurt, oatmeal, whole wheat toast with avocado, or 1 piece of fruit for a quick energy boost – stick to berries for best results.
Protein for muscle power
Add a little protein to your carb fest, especially if you intend on doing some heavy training (weights!). Protein breaks down into amino acids that your body uses to build healthy new muscle tissue. When we exercise, we tear tiny muscle fibres. Protein helps heal those tears and strengthen our muscles - which you know, is the ultimate goal. Chowing down on some protein before a workout will minimise muscle damage during your workout and of course help for a faster recovery.
Snacks: Greek yoghurt, hard boiled egg, our Nutella Protein Balls (pictured above) or Georgio's Breakfast Smoothie.
Have you drunk enough water? That’s one of the first things you should ask yourself before you begin your workout. Aim to drink about 2 cups of water 2 to 3 hours before exercising and at least 1 cup 10 to 20 minutes before your workout commences. Also, you should also keep up your hydration during your workout. Drinking 1 cup every 15-20 mins of intense exercise can really help you get the maximum benefits from your session, especially if you’re training in a warm environment.
Here’s the deal: you NEED to eat after a workout. No negotiation.
If you can’t have an entire meal straight after, then it’s best to have a snack within 20 minutes of training. Your first meal after training should be a balance of protein, complex carbs and some healthy fats to aid circulation and healing. Following a balanced diet is not only important for healthy weight loss, but it will also help your body fight against illness and disease.
Firstly, you need quality protein (a must!) to speed up that muscle recovery and repair muscle tissue - think fish, chicken and tofu. Secondly, you need carbs to restock those glycogen levels. Choose complex carbs that have low G.I to help aid muscle aches like sweet potato, brown rice and quinoa. And finally, you need to drink uppp! After a workout, you'll most likely be dehydrated (think of all that sweat). To replenish your fluids, be sure to drink at least 2 cups of water post-workout.
Treat your body like a temple. Below are a few sample recipes from our What the Fk Should I Eat Cookbook. These delicious meals provide all the nutrients needed for muscle recovery and energy replenishment.
Want more meal ideas? Our Fitaz in 28 Days Bundle includes our guide and our What the Fk Should I Eat cookbook for all your breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe ideas and food tip needs! Needless to say, they're Fking delicious! Click on the image below to get yours.
Breaky To-Go Smoothie
- 2 frozen overripe bananas
- ⅓ cup oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp honey
- ½ cup Greek yoghurt
- 2 cups of milk of choice
Broccoli and Quinoa Slaw with Chicken
- 1 small head of broccoli
- 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 tbsp toasted slithered almonds
- 2 tbsp sultanas
- 300g grilled chicken breast
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Healthy Avocado Mousse