“What should I eat before I exercise?” is a question that we hear all the time.
Carbs are your friend when exercising, the key is to have a mix of complex and simple carbs so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your routine. Wholewheat toast with fruit gives you both types of carbs with the bonus of being easy to digest. Complex carbs will keep you going, whilst the fruit adds an extra kick of energy. A slice of wholewheat toast with banana and cinnamon is great! Cinnamon has been linked to stabilising blood sugar and improving brain function.
We also love smoothies – a great way to get fast absorbing energy in before a workout – they’re time-friendly, especially with being able to pick up a personal smoothie maker for under £20! Fruit, protein powder/ nuts, yoghurt/ milk ad you’re good to go! And no need to go overboard — 10 to 20 grams of protein before exercising is plenty.
Lise and Rich swear by oats! Oatmeal sticks with you throughout your workout by gradually releasing sugar into your bloodstream. Adding fruit to your bowl will help increase the fluid content of your pre-workout snack, keeping you hydrated. Oats with sliced banana, berries, honey and cinnamon is always a winner in our eyes.
What about after your workout?
After your workout, you need to aid your body’s recovery, you need protein, you need nutrients! A protein shake straight after a heavy workout is the perfect remedy, however not everyone wants to do this. The best food would be high protein with lots of veg (Lise likes low carb, whereas Rich would opt for carbs – it all depends on your fitness goals) – chicken and veg, a veggie-rich omelet, salmon and sweet potato – all great options!
So when is the best time to eat before and after exercise?
Before exercise depends on the food type. Liquid meals and easily digestible food within an hour (no closer to exercise as you won’t feel the benefit) and slower to digest food such as oats will take up to 2-3 hours to digest and start releasing energy.
After exercise within 3 hours (they say your body absorbs the nutrients it needs within this window to make muscle repairs for the following 12 hours). A solid meal full of protein (at least 30g is ideal) and lots of carbs can be good too – depending on your fitness goals.
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Lise and Rich