Nutrition is important for everybody, but particularly so for individuals who demand more from their bodies through exercise. The question is, “When is the best time to eat? Before or after a workout?” The answer, “Both before and after the workout.” Suzanne Girard Eberle, sports nutritionist and author of “Endurance Sports Nutrition,” gives the following recommendations.
Pre-workout: A full meal with a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat at least two hours before exercising would be optimal. Because the body uses most of the energy stored up overnight, it needs to replenish that energy before a workout. If you start your day with exercise and don’t have time to eat a full meal before you begin, you will need to eat something high in carbohydrates at least 30 minutes before the workout. For example, a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter.
Post-workout: After exercise, your muscles are in repair mode. The best way to aid this is to supply the body with not only carbohydrates but also protein. A well-balanced meal within an hour of a workout is recommended.
Of course, staying hydrated is very important before, during, and after physical activity. Drinking plenty of water is always a good option. Girard Eberle also suggests consuming sports drinks for workouts lasting longer than 90 minutes.