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Should I Eat Before & After Exercising?

Updated: Sep 26, 2021

Should I eat before or after workout? Should I have protein before or after workout? Regardless what kind of diet you are on, pre and post workout meals are the 2 most important meal for weight loss and gaining muscle. For those who are planning to lose weight, this comes as a shock, but you may read up more on why you should eat, and what you should eat in our article ‘Calorie Deficit vs Calorie Surplus’. And for those who are looking to gain muscle, protein before and after workout is beneficial.


Pre Workout Meal


Especially for people who are doing weights training, you will definitely need food (energy) before your workout! Do you think you can perform at your best without loading "energy" into your body? We don't think so.


According to Healthline, our body’s sources of fuel for energy are mainly body fat and carbohydrates. To ensure an effective workout, your body has to feel ‘strong’ and full of energy, so that you will be able to give your maximum.


Research has also shown that working out after fasting may not be as effective, since the body feels weak and is unable to work out as hard, to burn as many calories. In fact, it may even be counter effective, and one may start dreading to work out since one feels so listless and weak at the gym. Hence, it is a misconception that in order to lose weight, you should starve and not eat before and after your workouts!


So, what to eat before a workout then? It is recommended to eat some carbs and protein 2-3 hours before a workout for maximum performance! A healthy pre workout snack could be some oats as well as boiled chicken breast and vegetables! Otherwise, anything with less oil and sugar (think healthy!) would work.


Some examples recommended by WebMD include Peanut butter sandwiches, oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit, fruit and yogurt smoothie, nuts, low-fat latte and apple, banana, egg, and whole-wheat toast.


Post Workout Meal


After exercising, your muscles are "damaged". Therefore we need food again for our post workout nutrition, in order to "repair" them! Our body will need carbs and protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.


If you don't "repair" your muscles after exercising, your next workout might not be productive. The reason being your muscles will be weaker than usual. You might even injure your muscles by skipping meals after exercising over a long run!


It's recommended to eat some carbs and protein within 30 mins post workout! The exact types of food to eat depends generally, on what exercise you do - For running or light cardio, light snacks (banana/peanut/greek yogurt) or fruits are recommended! For weights training, try to have a proper pre and post workout meal!


ps: You Will NOT Slim Down by skipping pre and post workout meal. You Will Only Do Harm to your body by skipping them. Read more about intermittent fasting and the sustainable way for weight loss here.


If you really want to see results, you will need to follow the proper diet or you will find it really hard to see those abs or biceps you are working hard for.


In Summary…


Top three things for you (tldr):

  1. You SHOULD eat before and after working out – preferably 2 to 3 hours before working out and no more than 30 minutes after your workout ends

  2. Even if your goal is to lose weight, you would still need to eat for maximum results

  3. Generally, aim for some carbohydrates but most importantly protein to repair those damaged muscles post workout

When in doubt, feel free to reach out to us - certified personal trainers in Singapore! Together, Let us Witness your Fitness!


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