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Fuel it Right: What to Eat Before, During, & After Workout

Fuel it Right: What to Eat Before, During, & After Workout

What can you eat before, after and during a workout? Why is it important to eat right? Well a healthy diet and well-planned workout are two vital staples to leading a healthy lifestyle. Knowing what to add to your pre- to- post-workout routine diet will boost your results. 

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, “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. Athletes should be well hydrated before exercise and drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses.”1 

When you begin a workout, the beginning and end should be only with eating right because a combination of the right diet and the right exercise benefits many health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stress, depression, anxiety, emotional well-being, and recovery from many other health conditions.  How you can transform your eating habits to get the best results for achieving your fitness goals easily?  Let’s explore

Fuel Up: Only With Nutritious Food

The main objective of workout food/snack is to fuel your body by providing the appropriate nutrients. Consuming right nutrients help to keep your body powered up not only during workout but also throughout the day. Intake of proteins, carbs, and fluids adequately refuel, rehydrate and optimize muscle repair and fast recovery. So, eating protein and carbs-rich food items can help you to achieve your fitness goals. Generally speaking, proteins and carbohydrates are two main sources that give energy to your body during rigorous workout.

Pre-Workout: Eat To Fuel Your Body

Eating before exercising is important as it helps in enhancing performance. If you avoid eating before you start exercising, your body would not have enough energy to do your workout. Conversely, eating heavily before a workout is also not right because when you eat something, it increases your body’s blood flow towards the digestive system (no blood flow towards muscles) which will make you feel sick during exercising. Studies show that eating more leads to dehydration and gastrointestinal (GI) complaints like nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and more. 2 Regardless you eat anything, it is also important to choose the right pre-workout snack/meal so that your body would have ample energy to maximize your performance and ability to burn calories.


  • Eat half –two hours before you start a workout.
  • Avoid proteins, heavy fats, and saturated fats before you get started.
  • Consume easy-to-digest healthy carbs, so that you do not feel lethargic.
  • Limited portion  can be eaten before starting a workout.

Healthy Substitutes:

Brown rice

Whole-grain cereals & pasta, whole-wheat toast

Oatmeal, peanut butter  

Low-fat milk & yogurt

Protein shakes, granola bars

Raisins and nuts, fruits



During Workout: Make a Brief Halt.

If your workout is for an hour or less, you don’t need to eat in between. But if you are training hard for long hours, you must sip in water frequently to keep your body hydrated. Also, there is no harm in having small snacks in-between. Apparently, it is critical to get to know about the items that would not upset your stomach or hinder the certain type of body hormones. Binging on small portions of snacks in between is always better for extended hours of training.


  • Drink water to keep your body hydrated.
  • Nibble on light protein bar or something similar.

Healthy Substitutes:

Raisins, yogurt, and banana

Fruit smoothies

Sports drinks


Post Workout: Refuel Your Tank.

After a workout when your body is cooling down, it tries to rebuild and repair muscle proteins, so taking in the right nutrients after a workout is important as it helps your body get this done faster and easier. Following a strength workout, consuming healthy fats and carbs-rich meals are beneficial. You can also have protein and carbs-rich snacks in apt portions. It is always better to choose your meal according to the duration, type, and intensity of exercise. Eating the right can help you recover, build muscles, and prepare for your next workout.


  • Don’t choose a large portion if you are going to sleep post-training.
  • Prepare easy-to-digest healthy snacks.
  • Always try different combinations for more effective results.
  • Baked items are worth trying.

Healthy Substitutes:

Whole grain bread

Grilled chicken, egg omelette

Roasted vegetables, salmon with sweet potatoes






These are general guidelines to be followed with a fitness regimen. However everybody has different digestion system. What kind of workout snack you choose will depend upon what kind of workout you’re doing. Also, watch the portion size to get most of your workout. Right sizes can be measured easily using a Dr Trust Kitchen scale to gauge in grams or ounces.  Timing is pretty important as it matter for body composition and performance. There is no hard and fast rule and even you don’t need to adhere to a rigid schedule.  It simply means eating specific nutrients at strategic times in order to achieve set goals. 

Related Article: *How effective is Calorie tracking in weight loss? * Click to continue reading

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