The Best Fuel Choices for Before and After Your Workout
by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
If you are dedicated enough to move your body, you deserve to understand how to fuel it for optimal benefits. What you eat before and after your workout, or even regular exercise can make a big difference in how hard you can train, and what result you’ll see afterwards.
Before exercise, the key focus is fuelling your muscle to be able to function at their best. Your muscle’s primary source of energy comes from glucose which is stored as glycogen in the muscles. It is important to remember that what you can tolerate in terms of fibre and fat will vary from person to person but here is some general guidance on what to aim for.
Around 2-3 hours before a workout you want to pick a meal or snack which is high in carbohydrate, moderate in protein and moderate in fibre.
This could include:
- A baked potato stuffed with a Safcol Responsibly Fished Tuna in Springwater 95g and topped with shredded cheese.
- A whole-grain sandwich with Safcol Responsibly Fished Tuna with Mayonnaise & Sweetcorn 95g, 40g of cheddar cheese and salad vegetables.
- 1-2 cups of pasta topped with an Italian style dressing of tomatoes, onion, basil, and Safcol Yellowfin Tuna Chunks Italian Style in Oil with Chilli 95g. Top with a sprinkle of cheese.
1-2 hours before you exercise your gut needs to be considered.
This means low fat and fibre, moderate protein and high in easy to digest carbohydrate. The amount of food you eat should decrease compared to 2-3 hours pre-workout. Good choices could include:
- A banana.
- A glass of low-fat milk.
- Cereal with some low fat or skim milk.
- 1 piece of toast (white bread is fine as it is low in fibre) with some honey.
- A tub of low-fat yoghurt with a small piece of fruit.
- Raisin toast
- Banana smoothie using low-fat milk.
After your workout, it is important to refuel your muscle glycogen with good quality carbohydrates and allow your muscles to repair properly with quality protein.
This means around 20-40g of protein and 40-80g of carbohydrates. This could look like:
- A slice of pizza using pita bread and topped with tomato paste, capsicum, baby spinach leaves, fetta, Safcol Responsibly Fished Tuna in Springwater 95g and shredded cheese.
- Trail mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
- A bowl of breakfast cereal with a banana.
- Yoghurt with oats and berries
- Safcol Premium Salmon with Lemon and Thyme 95g on a bed of whole-grain rice. With a side of Asian style vegetables.
- Safcol Brisling Sardines in Tomato Sauce 110g on toast. With a side of roasted mushrooms and spinach.
- Mushroom, spinach, and Smoked Rainbow Trout Fillets 105g omelette.
Take home message
Your ability to workout at the level you desire as well seeing results following is not just determined by exercise itself. Take on board these easy meals to optimise your nutrition and consequently your performance and results.