What time should you be eating to get the most energy for your workout?
Busy lifestyles often mean that there’s limited time for exercise and often even less time for eating properly. However, if you exercise regularly and want to get the most out of it, you need to make sure you’re eating the right foods at the right time. Taking time to plan meals and snacks will help to provide your body with plenty of energy fuel for your workout or training session and also avoid post exercise fatigue too.
Here’s our top tips to help you to maximize energy and avoid fatigue
• Need energy? Think carbohydrates - When it comes to energy during exercise, carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel. Think bread, pasta, rice, fruit & vegetables, oats, rye and wholegrains. Sometimes it’s necessary to add in some faster energy sources such as glucose drinks and gels too.
• Plan a pre exercise meal (1-4 hrs before) – You might have to experiment with the timings of this meal to find out what suits you best. Anywhere between 1-4 hrs before your exercise session you need a balanced meal containing some carbohydrates. This could be a bowl of porridge or granola made with milk and chopped fruit for breakfast if your exercise session is in the morning or perhaps a lunch of chicken and roasted vegetables with wholegrain pasta if you are training later in the day.
Porridge made with milk and chopped fruit
• Pre-exercise snack (1 hr before) – If you are planning a particularly tough training session or if you haven’t managed a pre-exercise meal, you may need to top up your energy. Around an hour before, something like a flapjack or similar oat based cereal bar works well.
Flapjack or cereal bar
• Immediately before / during exercise – If you haven’t managed either a pre-exercise meal or snack and you are just about to exercise, you will need a more immediate source of energy fuel which is quick and easy to digest. This is where glucose drinks and gels come in handy – they can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream to provide almost instantaneous energy fuel. If your training session is prolonged (i.e. long distance marathon training) you may need to keep a glucose drink or energy gel handy to sip along the way to top up your fuel supplies.
Glucose drink or gel
• Post exercise (within 30 mins) – Immediately after exercise is an important time for re-fuelling so it’s key to plan ahead with this snack. This snack needs to provide some carbohydrate to replace the energy that has been used and some protein too for muscle re-building and repair. A fruit smoothie made with whey protein, frozen berries and fruit juice is easy to drink, quick to digest and ticks all the boxes.
Fruit smoothie made with whey protein, frozen berries and fruit juice.
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