Eating before and after exercise is important as it can help with your energy levels and muscle development. The American College of Sports Medicine says, “Adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration during exercise, maximize exercise performance, and improve recovery time."
Eating a mix of carbohydrates and protein can help with your muscle growth when paired alongside exercise. For specific foods to eat before and after exercise see the lists below.
Eating before exercise is key to an effective workout, think about it like you're fueling up ready to go. Eating at least two hours before exercise can help build your energy and burn more calories. Hannah says you should hydrate by drinking plenty of water so you don't become easily dehydrated during exercise.
You should also eat healthy carbohydrates that are high in fibre before your workout as these slowly release energy and lean protein, these foods include:
It's recommended to eat a healthy and high protein meal or snack within an hour after exercise. Hannah says eating after exercise helps your muscles recover and replaces their glycogen stores. If you're not going to eat a meal after your workout then definitely consider a snack.
Again, a meal or snack with healthy carbohydrates and protein is beneficial at this point, these foods include:
If you're working 9-5, five days a week then you might find that you struggle to get all of the foods we've mentioned previously. This is because you're lacking time in the morning, or get home late in the evening.
One way to make sure you get all of the carbs and protein you need to help your fitness goals and support your exercise routine is to begin meal prepping. This requires you to plan and cook a batch of a certain recipe so that you can have it over the next few days. This is great if you need an easy lunch to reheat in the office, or looking for a breakfast that is already made in the morning.
A lot of recipes can be batch made, including chicken and rice, pasta, overnight oats, and more, but if you're looking for inspiration try the YouFoodz ready made meals.