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Knowing what foods to eat before and after you exercise can be tricky. But it is important to know if you want to maximise your results. This blog post will give you some of the best pre and post workout meals, as well as helpful guidelines.

Pre Workout Meal Guidelines

About 30-60 minutes before your workout, it is best to consume a mix of carbohydrates and protein. The amount depends on your body weight. Recommended intakes include:

  • 1-2 grams / kg body weight of carbohydrates
  • 0.15 – 0.25 grams / kg body weight of protein

For a 60kg individual, this amounts to 60-120g of carbohydrates and 9-15g of protein.

Having protein before your workout, can result in peak levels of protein synthesis after your workout. This is great if you are looking to build lean muscle.

Having enough carbohydrates prior to exercise is important for performance. If you already have enough carbohydrate stored in your body in the form of muscle glycogen, the carbohydrate you eat in the hour or so before exercise might not make much difference to performance, unless it is first thing in the morning. In the morning, your liver is in a glycogen depleted state.

If you exercise first thing in the morning, it is best to consume carbohydrates (and protein) 30 minutes prior to your workout. If you exercise in the afternoon/evening and have eaten sufficient carbs within the few hours prior to exercise, you may not need to eat more carbs.

Pre Workout Meal Ideas

  • 1 cup of low fat yoghurt with oats and berries
  • 1 wholemeal muffin with banana and peanut butter
  • 2 slices of wholegrain bread with two poached eggs
  • Protein or healthy sports bar

best pre and post workout meal ideas

Post Workout Meal Guidelines

After your workout, you are best to eat a mixture of carbs and protein. Aim to eat a carb:protein ratio of 3:1. So if you’re having 15g of protein, aim for 60g of carbs (similar to pre-workout guidelines).

In general, you should be consuming around 10-20g of protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout (with the carb:protein ratio of 3:1).

This is also the absolute best time to consume carbohydrates. Post-exercise, your body is in an anabolic state, so it needs carbohydrates to refuel the body, not store fat. The BEST time to consume carbs is after (and before) a workout. If you’re aiming for fat loss, eat the majority of your carbs in the morning and post-workout.

Post Workout Meal Ideas

  • Smoothie with low fat milk, yoghurt, fruit and protein powder
  • 2 slices of wholegrain bread with lean meat, salad and low-fat or cottage cheese
  • Beef and vegetable stir fry with brown rice or noodles
  • Roast meat (chicken, beef, etc) with roast sweet potato and vegetables

best pre and post workout meal ideas

As you can see, the requirements for pre and post workout meals are pretty similar! These pre and post workout meal ideas can be interchangeable.

I hope you have found this post helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions xx

Picture of Rachael

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

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