What you should eat before and after a workout

Food and nutrition

Published on 25 September 2013
by Isabelle Huot

Active people are usually concerned about their diet. They make sure that it is well balanced, healthy and diversified. But do they know what they should eat to maintain maximum energy level in relation to the type of training they are planning?

When practicing a physical activity, carbohydrates are the most rapidly available source of energy. Sports people should incorporate them into their diet to a 55% to 60% ratio of their total calorie intake. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates and others called complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs– candy, fruit juice, maple syrup– can supply you solely with short term energy. On the other hand, complex carbs, such as cereals, whole wheat pasta, homemade muffins, beans and lentils produce long term energy. They are active people’s fuel.

Proteins are equally important in sports people’s diet. They maintain the energy level and contribute to muscle fibres health. Therefore, proteins are necessary for post-training recuperation. We suggest choosing lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, vegetable proteins, fish, eggs and lean red meat.

It is recommended that you eat a snack rich in carbohydrates an hour before your training. This will allow maintaining your blood sugar level, and will keep you from going hungry. And so, a fruit, a cereal bar, a homemade bran muffin, or even a whole wheat toast with a little bit of jam are appropriate. Approximately 30 minutes after your workout, eating a snack combining proteins and carbs is a good idea; it will allow recharging your energy and help rebuild muscle fibers. Milk and cereals, grapes and low fat cheese, or yogurt and apples, are winning combinations!

Isabelle Huot
Doctor in nutrition