What foods are best before, during and after exercising?

Published on 1 July 2018
by Lait au chocolat

When it comes to exercising, nutrition should not be overlooked! Proper nutrition increases physical performance, improves recovery after physical activity and reduces related fatigue. Here is an overview.


An outstanding source of fuel, carbs are your cell’s favourite type of energy, especially during strenuous exercise. It is found in the blood, liver and muscles.


Fat has several important functions includins providing energy, protecting vital organs, participating in thermal insulation and transporting or absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Because none othe these roles are connected to improving performance or physical activity, athletes are encouraged to consume the same proportions as the general public; from 20%-35% of daily energy intake. Beofre exercising, however, high-fat foods should be avoided, since they take a long time to digest and can hinder athletic performance.


Protein does not act as an energy reserve like carbs or fat do; instead, their role is to help build and repair muscles. This is why athletes need more protein than the general public. Frequency, duration and type of activity, as well as the athlete’s weight all affect the quantity required.


Physical activity causes water loss, since it increases the body’s temperature, which is regulated through perspiration. Make sure to drink plenty of water the day before (and up until two hours beforehand), during and after your physical activity, especially if it’s hot out!

What to eat before exercising:

Eat carbs to help stave off hunger, especially if exercising for a long time.

For example:

  • Bread with jam
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Cereal with milk

What to eat while exercising:

If your workout is less than 60 minutes long, simply hydrate with water!

If it is longer than an hour, eat carbs, like a fruit or a granola bar.

What to eat after exercising:

If your workout is longer than one hour and is moderate or high intensity, it is recommended to drink and to eat carbs and protein, ideally 15 to 30 minutes following the activity.

For example:

  • Chocolate milk
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Cheese, crackers and juice
  • Yogurt, fruit and nuts

Link to the article (french only)
Lait au chocolat