Eating before exercise and eating after exercise

health benefits of kiwi
health benefits of kiwi

You always want to have enough energy during a workout. In this blog, we will discuss Eating before exercise and eating after exercise. On the other hand, exercising with a full stomach is certainly no fun… So your food before exercise has to find a good balance there! And the food after exercise is important, that after all, partly determines the effectiveness of your workout. In short, eating around your workout can cause a lot of puzzling. In this blog, we list what you should pay attention to when planning your meals!

Eating before exercise

It is important to ensure that you have eaten enough during exercise. Sports on an empty stomach are certainly not healthier, as is sometimes claimed! Fat burning does not go faster, and you run the risk that your body will not have enough energy left to be able to make a strong effort. Some people even faint as a result.

On the other hand, you will have noticed that eating a lot before exercising is not always pleasant. Entering the gym with a full stomach can actually hinder your performance. Your digestion uses up a lot of energy. That is all energy that you cannot put into the exercise itself.

How should you approach it then? The following schedule works best for most people:

  • Eat a regular meal 2-3 hours before exercise. Make sure it contains enough protein and whole-grain carbohydrates for long-lasting energy.
  • Drink enough around this time too! This way you prevent yourself from drying out during exercise, and you don’t have to go to the toilet all the time.
  • Are you still hungry? Then eat something small before exercising, with main carbohydrates. They burden the digestion less than proteins and fats.

Snacks for exercise

For example, what can you eat if you still feel hungry an hour before your training? A few suggestions for eating before exercise:

  • A banana. Bananas contain fiber and carbohydrates, which provide long-lasting energy. In addition, there is a lot of potassium in bananas. Handy when exercising, because you dry out less quickly.
  • A small plate of porridge. Oatmeal is also rich in slow carbohydrates that will keep you fueled for a long time. Add some fruit for an extra energy boost.
  • A wholemeal sandwich with healthy toppings. Think of hummus, low-fat meat products, or 100% nut paste.

But beware: it is certainly not necessary to eat something just before your workout. If you can keep up with your meal from two hours earlier, there is no reason to include an extra snack.

Eating while exercising?

Many people think that you should also keep supplementing with nutrients during exercise. However, this is not necessary for training sessions of up to about an hour and a half. Your body can then live well on the stocks you have built up.

So you don’t need sports drinks while exercising! Plain water is healthier; it contains no added sugars. Only when you are really busy for hours, for example with endurance running, will you benefit from the minerals that are added to sports drinks. In that case, sports gels can also be a convenient substitute for in-between meals.

Eating after exercise

Then there is the food after exercise. If you’ve worked up a sweat for an hour, your body naturally needs nutrients and energy. Especially after strength training, this is very important. This is because you damage your muscles somewhat, and in order to start recovery as quickly as possible, your body needs building materials.

It is therefore important that you choose the right nutrition after your training. This way you ensure that your body recovers optimally and that your muscles can grow as quickly as possible.

When eating after exercise, two things are very important:

  • Protein. These nutrients provide the building blocks from which your muscle tissue is formed. To be able to repair and enlarge muscles, you, therefore, need sufficient protein. The sooner you eat it after training, the better.
  • Fast carbohydrates. During exercise, your muscles use up your body’s glycogen stores: readily available carbohydrates. By replenishing that supply as soon as possible, your muscles can return to normal efforts as quickly as possible. So this is the only time when it can be smart to eat or drink some fast sugars.

Snacks after exercise

Many people think that you absolutely need a protein shake after exercise. However, that is by no means the only way to get enough protein and carbohydrates! You can also use ‘normal’ foods – which is often cheaper too.

A few nice snacks to eat after exercise are, for example:

  • Cottage cheese with fruit. Cottage cheese is rich in protein, and fruit provides the necessary fast carbohydrates to be able to continue immediately.
  • A smoothie. Any combination of a dairy base with fruit also works very well. Throw it in the blender at home, then you can easily take your smoothie to the gym.
  • Chocolate milk. We don’t recommend this snack for the rest of the day, but those sugars can come in handy after a workout!
  • Whole wheat sandwich with protein-rich toppings. A simple sandwich with lean meat products, cottage cheese or hummus provides a lot of protein and also enough healthy carbohydrates.
  • Cracker with a boiled egg. A boiled egg is a very simple sports snack to take with you. Add a cracker for a serving of carbohydrates, and you’re done!

Eating schedule for athletes

Whatever you choose to eat before and after exercise, it is of course important to make sure it all fits well into your eating schedule. Your pre-workout snacks and your post-workout food should also be included in your total calorie intake and nutritional values.




Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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