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What’s Best to Eat Before and After Different Workouts

Do you know that feeding your body before and after every workout is essential for burning the most calories, staying energized, building lean muscle, losing weight and speeding up recovery? 
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What’s Best to Eat Before and After Different Workouts

When it comes to fitness, there are definitely some key questions we have to get the most of our workouts. This includes: how do we lose weight faster, burn more calories and feel energized enough to power through every training session? There is one specific and simple answer that answers all these questions and that is, eat the right food at the right times.

It’s Important to Eat Before Your Workout
Many wrongly think that the best way to lose weight is to work out hard and then wait until mealtimes to eat. However, research shows that whether you eat or don’t eat before exercise, the human body burns the same amount of fat. In fact, working out regularly on an empty stomach can actually cause muscle loss. This is because when you are hungry, your body goes into survival mode and draws protein from muscles instead of from the kidneys and liver where the body normally stores protein. When this happens, you lose muscle mass, which may slow down your metabolism, which in turn, makes it harder to lose weight. In addition, exercising on an empty stomach does not give you the fuel needed to power through an intense training session.

Why It’s Important to Eat After Your Workout
It’s also important to eat after your workout because during exercise, your body taps the fuel (known as glycogen) stored in your muscles for energy.  After a strenuous workout, your muscles are depleted of their glycogen stores and broken down. Eating or drinking something that combines protein and carbohydrates 30 minutes to an hour after your workout refills energy stores. It also builds and repairs your muscles, helping to keep your metabolism rate up.

Studies have shown that your body’s ability to refill muscle stores decreases by 50 percent if you wait to eat just two hours after your workout compared to eating right away. Therefore, the sooner you start refuelling, the better it is for your body. If you are at the gym, why not plan ahead and take along a protein shake or a wholegrain sandwich with peanut butter?

Eating clean, balanced meals is a great way to supplement any exercise regime, but it does not make sense to fuel up for yoga the same way you would when spinning (indoor cycling) or going for a long run. So, just what types of food should you enjoy to make the most of your chosen exercise?

  • Spinning/Running
    Getting indigestion while spinning away or hitting the pavement is not a great idea. It’s better to not have a full meal before these types of exercises. Avocado on wholegrain toast is an ideal pre-workout snack as it provides you with valuable healthy fats that give you an energetic boost as well providing you with healthy antioxidants and fibre for better digestion. To add some additional zip into your spin or step, try a caffeine boost as it stimulates adrenaline (use skimmed milk if you are not taking it black, so that you don’t go overboard on the fats). After your workout, replenish the nutrients you have lost with a simple balanced meal like steamed chicken breast, green leafy vegetables and brown rice.

  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Strength Training
    These types of exercises put your body through its paces in just a few short minutes. Fuel up beforehand so that your body can deal with the intense bursts of energy required. Good food to snack on before these exercises includes seeds and nuts like almonds and walnuts. These are full of protein, carbs and healthy fat, keeping you energised and feeling satisfied for longer. After your workout, do get sufficient protein as your muscles need adequate replenishment in order to repair themselves. Eggs are a good source of protein – like scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast.

  • Yoga
    It’s often hard to meditate as well as hold positions like headstands when you have a full stomach. Bearing this in mind, simply stay hydrated with water or with a fresh coconut. Refuel by opting for a light yet wholesome snack like a green smoothie with fruits like apples and bananas combined with vegetables like celery and carrots? This way you get easily digestible complex carbohydrates as well as amino acids, vitamins and minerals. 
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