What to Eat When You’re Working Out More

Whether you’re exercising to change your appearance, to improve your mental health, or to gain a new hobby and make some friends; what you eat around training can impact your stamina throughout the session, as well as your recovery and results afterwards. It can also impact your ability to exercise multiple days per week. Read on to discover the nutrients you should prioritise as you increase the amount of time you spend exercising. 



Rebuild With Protein

Protein helps you to build and repair your muscles post-workout. High-protein diets have also been proven to assist with weight management as it is the key nutrient that keeps you feeling fuller for longer, which prevents snacking.

Your body can only utilise a certain amount of protein at a time, so you should space the amount you eat out across the day. Eat a portion of protein with each meal for optimal workout recovery and appetite control. Eating protein 1-2 hours after exercising will help you to maintain the muscle mass that you built during your workout.

Good sources of protein include meats like beef, poultry, fish/seafood, eggs and dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese), as well as plant-based sources such as legumes, tofu and tempeh.



Fuel With Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for our brains and bodies. It is important to refuel with a carbohydrate source following each workout to top up the energy you burnt while exercising. Eating carbs before a workout will also help to boost your stamina so that you can exercise harder for longer without getting fatigued. Just like protein, it is important to refuel with carbs at every meal.

Nutritious carbohydrate-rich foods include: wholegrains (pasta, bread, oats, rice, beans), fruits (fresh, frozen or canned) and vegetables (potato, sweet potato, corn). 



Stay Hydrated

Ensuring that you are drinking enough fluids before, during and after your workouts is crucial for maintaining your energy levels and optimising your overall health. Without adequate hydration, your performance and stamina throughout the day can be massively impacted. For optimal hydration, keep a water bottle nearby wherever you go and try to consume between 2-3 litres of water per day.

What should you eat before and after working out? 



What To Eat BEFORE Working Out

Eat a small snack 1-2 hours before your workout (to give your body time to digest). It should consist primarily of carbohydrates, with a smaller portion of protein and some colour from fruits or veg. This will help you prepare for the upcoming workout – the carbs boosting your stamina, the protein aiding in muscle-building, and the colour providing nutrients for recovery.

Some ideas for snacks include:

What To Eat AFTER Working Out

It’s just as important to replenish after a workout – so try to consume a meal or snack 1-2 hours after exercising. This will help to refuel your energy and stamina levels and repair your muscles. Again, try to include a carbohydrate source, some protein, and some colour from fruits or vegetables to reduce inflammation.

Some ideas include:

And of course, hydrating after working out is paramount. It will prevent you from feeling fatigued later in the day and replenish the fluids you have just sweated out! 

See this week’s Post Workout Smoothie to provide you all 3 of the principles – protein, carbohydrate and hydration. 

Live Life Get Active is building a fitter, healthier and happier Australia and we want people to have fun along the way. With the help of Local Government and Corporate Australia we provide FREE health, fitness and nutritional education both online and in the parks, suburbs and cities of Australia.