Guide To The Best Pre And Post Workout Meals

Whether you're a gym enthusiast, a dedicated runner, or simply striving for a healthier lifestyle, the key to maximising your workouts lies in what you eat.

By URLife Team
03 Jun 2023

As an athlete, you know how important it is to fuel your body with the right nutrients before and after a workout. However, with so many differing opinions out there, it can be challenging to know what the best pre and post-workout meals are. Many experts caution against pre-exercise fasting, which highlights the importance of pre workout meals. As per a 2022 study issued in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition And Exercise Metabolism, running on an empty stomach may help burn fat faster, but it won't provide enough stamina for a more rigorous workout. Further, it also can raise the chance of strains, sprains, stress fractures, and other injuries from exercise-related fatigue. 


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Meal planning is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy diet, especially for pre and post-workout meals. By planning your meals, you can ensure that you have the right foods on hand and avoid the temptation of unhealthy options. When meal planning for pre and post-workout meals, try to include a variety of foods from each food group, including carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Don't forget to also include plenty of fruits and vegetables, which provide essential vitamins and minerals.

As a fitness enthusiast, you understand the importance of having a well-rounded diet that supports your workout routine. Pre and post-workout meals are crucial components of a healthy and effective workout routine. By eating the right foods at the right time, you can fuel your body for optimal performance and recovery. Stay hydrated, avoid unhealthy foods, and consider working with a nutritionist to create a personalised meal plan. With these tips, you can take your workout nutrition to the next level and achieve your fitness goals.


But, how many calories should one consume? 

Dr. Lakshmi Kilaru, Ph.D. Food Science and Nutrition (University of Georgia) and Head Nutritionist at UR.Life states that  anywhere from 10 per cent to 35 per cent of your calories should come from protein. So if your needs are 2,000 calories, that’s 200–700 calories from protein or 50–175 grams. The recommended dietary allowance to prevent deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 165 pounds, or 75 kilograms, should consume 60 grams of protein per day.

Once you reach ages 40 to50, you start losing muscle mass. To prevent this and to maintain independence and quality of life, your protein needs to increase to about 1 to 1.2 grams per kilogram or 75 to90 grams per day for a 75-kilogram person. People who exercise regularly also have higher needs, about 1.1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram. People who regularly lift weights, or are training for a running or cycling event need 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram.


Pre-Workout Meals 

Pre-workout meals should be eaten 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. They should be high in carbohydrates, which provide energy, and low in fat, which can slow down digestion and make you feel sluggish. Some examples of pre-workout meals include:

  • Greek yoghurt with berries and granola
  • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana
  • Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
  • Smoothie with spinach, banana, and protein powder


Post Workout Meals

Post-workout meals should be eaten 30 minutes to an hour after your workout. They should be high in protein, which helps repair and rebuild muscles, and carbohydrates, which restore energy levels. Some examples of post-workout meals include:

  • Grilled chicken with sweet potato and vegetables
  • Salmon with quinoa and roasted vegetables
  • Tuna salad with whole wheat pita bread
  • Stir-fry with brown rice, tofu, and vegetables

It's also crucial to replenish fluids after your workout, so drink plenty of water or sports drinks. 

If you're struggling to come up with meal plans for your pre and post-workout meals, consider working with a nutritionist. A nutritionist can help you create a customised meal plan that meets your individual needs and preferences. They can also provide advice on specific foods to eat or avoid based on your fitness goals and dietary restrictions. With their expertise, you can take your workout nutrition to the next level and achieve the best results possible. Try UR.Life Cafe’s Muscle Gain Plan


Try Post-workout meal here


Foods to Avoid Before And After Workout 

Although it's essential to eat the right foods before and after your workout, it's equally important to avoid certain foods that can hinder your performance or recovery.


Before workout - 

  • Avoid high-fat meals as they can lead to indigestion and make you feel sluggish. 
  • Opt for easily digestible carbs that will provide you with quick energy such as fruit, smoothies, oatmeal, and whole-grain toast.

After workout - 

  • After a workout, your body needs to replenish the nutrients it lost during exercise. 
  • Avoid consuming high-fat meals as they can slow down the digestion process and hinder nutrient absorption. 
  • Say no to high-sugar and processed meals which are often high in sodium and preservatives and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels and lead to a crash. 
  • Go for protein-rich foods that will help repair and rebuild muscle tissue such as grilled chicken or fish, egg whites, and quinoa. 


Related story: The Best Source of Vegan Protein To Eat Post Workout


Common Mistakes To Avoid In Pre And Post-Workout Meals

While it's essential to know what foods and supplements to consume before and after a workout, it's equally important to know what  to avoid. 

Pre-Workout Mistakes

1. Consuming too much fibre: Consuming too much fibre before a workout can lead to stomach discomfort.

2. Consuming too much caffeine: Consuming too much caffeine can lead to jitters and anxiety.

3. Fasting: Fasting before a workout can lead to low blood sugar levels and hinder performance.


Post-Workout Mistakes

1. Consuming too much sugar: Consuming too much sugar can hinder nutrient absorption and lead to inflammation.

2. Waiting too long to eat: Waiting too long to eat after a workout can hinder muscle recovery.

3. Not consuming enough protein: Not consuming enough protein after a workout can hinder muscle recovery and growth.


Related story: 7 Ways To Boost Post Workout Muscle Recovery


To sum it up, avoid consuming too much fibre and caffeine before a workout, and avoid fasting. After a workout, avoid consuming too much sugar, waiting too long to eat, and not consuming enough protein. The best pre and post-workout meals are those that provide your body with the right nutrients to fuel your workouts and aid in muscle recovery. Avoid fatty and protein-rich foods before a workout, and opt for easily digestible carbs instead. After a workout, avoid high-fat meals and opt for protein-rich foods to help repair and rebuild muscle tissue. 


Related story: Five Easy Ways To Add More Protein To your Vegan Diet


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