I am often asked what I should eat before and after a workout, well this depends on whether you are working out in the morning, afternoon or evening.

Expert Registered Dietitians provide suggestions so that no matter what time of day you exercise, or what schedule you have, there are some well proven pre and post workout snack ideas that always help.

MORNING EXERCISER

Pre workout: 1 medium banana and some natural yoghurt

It’s often the case that we don’t fancy anything before an early morning workout, however adequate fuelling is vital to help maximise your efforts when working out first thing.  It is recommended that you have something like the above light snack approximately 30-60 mins before you start your workout.  Research suggests that it will help increase glucose availability near the end of the workout and decrease exercise induced muscle protein breakdown.  If you are not sure how your stomach will fare eating and exercising first thing, just make sure you you choose something low in fat and fibre to minimise and gastric upset during your workout.

Post Workout: Crackers with peanut butter and low fat chocolate milk

Internationally renowned sports dietitian Nancy Clark recommends the above easy snack after a morning workout.  She says it’s the best combination of carbohydrate to refuel muscles and the protein helps repair and rebuild muscles.  The milk provides high quality protein as well as much needed calcium for healthy bones.

LUNCHTIME EXERCISER

Pre workout: An apple and hard boiled egg

When you have a hectic daily schedule, having foods on hand that can be easily consumed will help to keep your energy levels up.  Apples are great to eat on the go, provide the much needed carbohydrate after a lunchtime workout and sit well in our stomachs.

Post Workout: Yoghurt, an orange and some red pepper strips.

Each of the above snacks are easy to grab and go but they are also high in water which helps you rehydrate after your daily exercise session.  Red peppers are a good source of water, and antioxidants which help repair muscle damage, Yoghurt helps give energy and protein as well as calcium and potassium to prevent post workout muscle cramps.  Adding in an orange provides a little sweet taste as well as potassium and vitamin c.

EVENING EXERCISER

Pre workout: Banana and a tbsp of peanut butter

A great post work snack to fuel you up ready for your evening class or run.  Be sure to consume this 1-2 hours prior to your workout time

Post Workout: Mini meal smoothie

Whizz up some plain yoghurt, mango, pineapple, cinnamon and a little toasted wheatgerm and you have a great post workout snack that provides you with fluids (from the water rich fruit) carbohydrate (fruit and yoghurt) & protein (yoghurt and wheatgerm)

After an intense workout in the evening and a long day at work or with the children we need to rehydrate and refuel, muscles need carbs to replenish lost glycogen storage and our bodies need water from excess sweating during the workouts.  Protein not only helps you feel full but can help with muscular recovery too.  Don’t forget, protein won’t replace your glycogen stores, to do this your post workout meal needs to contain 3-4 times as many calories from carbohydrate as it does from protein.

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