A guide on what to eat when working out.

A guide on what to eat when working out.

So, you have just embarked on a whole new Fitness journey. You are feeling great, tired but great! You feel energised and before you know it, the 1 hour a day spent exercising quickly becomes a life habit that you find yourself looking forward to…but the question of your nutrition and diet have been on your mind.

Did you know that exercise contributes 20% of your overall diet whereas 80% is made up of nutrition, so it’s super important to make sure these are both working effectively hand in hand.

Healthy nutritious vegetables

Here, through the wisdom of Kate Patton from the Clevelandclinic.org we will discuss some of the best snacks to have before and after a workout and why they work, so you will be able to plan a healthy nutritious diet when working out.

Registered dietitian Kate Patton says If you’re looking to fuel a workout first thing in the morning and you’re someone who needs something to eat, aim for quickly digesting carbohydrates like:

Dry cereal.
A glass of natural orange juice.
Apple sauce.
A banana

After working out you will also need to eat – generally the recommendation is within 1 hour of working out.

eggs on toast
The snack or meal you eat depends on what exercise you have completed:

For cardio or endurance exercise, the main priority is to refuel your muscles with carbs. For example if you run or bike for an hour or longer, then the good news is that you will have tapped into your stored carbs and need to replenish those. Your carbs-to-protein ratio should be around 3 to 4 grams of carbs to 1 gram of protein according to Patton.

For strength training, The biggest priority here is to repair those muscles you just exhausted. Patton suggests that we aim for 2 grams of carbs to 1 gram of protein with an emphasis on high quality, complete protein. The quickest digesting, highest bio available protein is whey protein followed by eggs, dairy and then animal protein. Or plant based proteins if you are following a Vegan based diet.

To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, a meal with both carbohydrates and protein would be your best bet after a workout. A few good options would be:

 Scrambled eggs on a whole wheat tortilla.
Chicken breast, veggies and brown rice.
Whole grain turkey wrap.
Salmon with a sweet potato.
Toast with eggs.
Tuna and rice.
Rice crackers and peanut butter.
Cottage cheese (or yogurt) and fruit.
Peanut butter on rice crackers

What foods should you avoid before a workout?

So, we have spoken about the good foods to eat but there are also a few bad foods which should be avoided as they can leave you feeling heavy, bloated and unmotivated.

 Some of these include:

  • Anything greasy.
  • Anything super high in fat.
  • Too much caffeine.
  • Creamy (or too much) pasta.
  • Soda or other carbonated drinks.
  • Baked goods that contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

A really important point to make for everyone who is working out – remember to top up your fluids.

Drink more water image

It’s always important to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Normal tap water is good for exercise lasting for 60 minutes or less, but for those slightly longer workouts then a sports of electrolyte drink would be the most beneficial to re-fuel your body of lost nutrients.