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What to Eat Before, During and After Exercise

The science of food goes beyond just keeping you full and healthy, but can be combined with sports for the best result of your life. Check out just how you can put certain foods to use in your workout regime below:

What to eat before, during and after exercise

Food before sport and exercise

It’s best to allow about 3 hours before you exercise after having a main meal, such as breakfast or lunch. 

An hour before exercising, having a light snack that contains some protein, and is higher in carbohydrate and lower in fat, can help you perform during your training and recover afterwards. Choose a snack that you’ll digest quickly like:

  • porridge
  • fruit, such as a banana
  • a slice of wholegrain bread
  • a plain or fruit scone with low-fat cheese
  • yoghurt or non-dairy alternatives
  • cottage cheese and crackers
  • a glass of milk

Foods to avoid before exercise : fatty foods which may cause stomach discomfort. Also, high-fibre foods like: raw vegetables, high-fibre cereals, raw nuts and seeds

Food and drink during exercise

If you’re exercising for less than 60 minutes, you should only need to drink water. However, if you’re exercising for longer, have a quick-digesting carbohydrate and some electrolytes (salts and minerals), such as:

  • an isotonic sports drink
  • a glass of milk
  • a banana
  • dried fruit
  • a cereal or sports bar

What to eat before, during and after exercise

Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout. Not drinking enough water can have a major effect on your performance. So start all exercise sessions well hydrated. The more intense your workout or the hotter the temperature you exercise in, the more you should increase your water intake.

What to eat after exercise

Food and drink also plays a part in recovering effectively from training.

If you train several times a day, refuelling with a source of carbohydrate and protein – such as a glass of milk and a banana – within 60 minutes of finishing your first session can help you recover faster.

If you’re training less than this or have more time to recover, make sure you rehydrate with water and eat as soon as you can afterwards. This might be your next main meal.

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