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By now, most of us know that nutrition plays a vital part in the training process of an athlete. What and when is eaten before a workout can make a significant difference inperformance and recovery.

Here are some basic peri-workout nutrition guidelines to help you perform and recover faster.


Basically, what we look for in a pre-workout meal is something that will provide us: sustained energy, adequate hydration, something that will boost performance while preserving muscle mass and also speed recovery. However, food is only useful once it has been digested and absorbed. Therefore, timing is important when considering a pre-workout meal.

– 30 minutes prior to workout:

When we have less than an hour before a workout there is less time for digestion: for example an early morning session. The best recommendation for this type of pre-workout meal is to look for liquid or easily digestible foods.

Some examples:
• Fruit and milk or other low calorie beverage such as unsweetened almond beverage
• Sports drink
• Carbohydrate gel
• A banana

– 1-2 hours before a workout:

Eating a nutritionally balanced meal is the best option for fueling when there is adequate time to digest. Nutritional requirements will vary depending on duration and intensity of training session. Here are come suggestions:

Some examples:
• Liquid meals: example, protein shake
• Smoothies or shakes
• Sports bar
• Cereal with milk
• Fruit

Exercising in a fastened state is generally not recommended. While it is true that a greater proportion of fat stores might be consumed as a source of energy. It is more likely that if you eat a carbohydrate snack or meal prior to a workout, you will be able to exercise harder and for a longer period of time.


The most factor during a workout is keep your body hydrated. If your workout session is less than an hour, most likely you don’t need to eat. However,
If you are engaging in high intensity vigorous workouts or your workout lasts more than an 60 minutes, the standard recommendation is consume 50-100 calories every half hour in the form of carbohydrates.

– Example of snacks for +60 minute workout:
• Sport gel
• ½ high-carbohydrate, low-protein, low-fat sport/energy bar, such as PowerBar or Clif Bar
• Bite-sized sport/energy bars or gummies
• Medium banana
• Large orange


The primary goal of post work nutrition is “Recovery”. Recovery refers to and includes the following: restoring muscle and liver glycogen stores, consuming adequate protein in order to promote muscle repair, and fluid and electrolyte replacement.

Studies have determined that the body’s cells are most receptive for replenishing nutrients 30 minutes after intense or prolonged training. The goal is to provide carbohydrates into your system within this lapse of time. Taking advantage of this window of opportunity will allow for muscles to be replenished much faster thus preparing them for the next training session.

In some cases, athletes may not feel hungry immediately after an intense exercise session. In this situation, the recommendation is to consume juice that is high in carbohydrates. When appetite is restored, consume a meal that is high in carbohydrates and also includes protein and fat. Post workout recovery meals vary, depending on workout intensity and duration.

General Tips:
• If your workout lasted less than 1 hour, proceed to replenish fluids and eat a normal balanced meal.
• If your workout lasted longer than 60 minutes and or was a high intensity workout:

– Replenish fluids, examples of what you can eat:

  • Protein shake with banana
  • Tuna and whole wheat
  • Yogurt and Fruit, such as berries
  • Turkey and Cheese slices with Apple slices
  • Peanut butter and banana on Whole Wheat Toast

– Examples of post exercise snacks/ meals for prolonged training sessions:

With in first 30 minutes post exercise:

  • Recovery drink: protein based for example chocolate milk or other sports recovery drink
  • 2 sports gels
  • 500 ml fruit juice
  • 2 slices of toast with honey or banana

After an 30-1 hour:

  • Proceed to eat a balanced meal
  • Eggs, toast and fruit
  • Whole wheat tuna o turkey sandwich with fruit (apple)
  • Burrito with beans, brown rice and guacamole
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