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Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition

Pre and post-workout nutrition is all about the right timing, water, carbohydrates and protein to nourish and replenish your body and maximize your workout.

It is vital to replace fluid and electrolytes lost through sweating and exerting energy by drinking plenty of water and eating. Bad timing can result in a stomach ache during your workout, delayed recovery and compromised results, while the proper timing and diet can help you perform at your best.

Carbs help to re-fuel your muscles and provide the positive energy needed to build muscle and recover from training.

Protein is also vital in maintaining and growing muscle mass. Contrary to the common misconception that vegans “don't get enough protein,” (plant) protein is plentiful as long as you know where to look. 

You can find protein in a number of plant-based foods, including:

  • Lentils and beans (black beans, lima beans, kidney beans)
  • Edamame and other soy products (soy milk, soy yogurt)
  • Seeds (chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Whole grains (rice, oats, wholemeal bread, quinoa, barley)
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews)
  • aha Pure Foods Lucky Bones soup

Although the exact timing and ratio of carbs to protein can vary depending on personal needs and on the type of workout, to maximize your workout and give your body the fuel it needs, it is recommended to eat a carbohydrate-based snack about 30-60 minutes before you train, according to nutritional therapist, Alessandra Felice ND Dip CNM. Aim to keep your snack relatively small so you don't have too much in your stomach during your workout.

Here is a list of my favorite pre-workout snacks that are simple, natural and quick, without a lot of planning: 

  • A cup of fruit juice
  • Mango
  • Grapes
  • Dates
  • Apple or banana with nut butter
  • 1-2 slices of whole grain or multigrain toast with nut butter
  • Cup of soy milk/soy yogurt
  • Cooked sweet potato
  • Overnight oats made with almond or soy milk, chia seeds, chopped nuts and berries

Post-workout, the nutrients lost need to be replenished, so eat both carbs and protein. Generally, Felice says, it’s good to have a snack or meal with a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate and protein for optimal muscle repair and recovery. Because your body is healing and rebuilding your muscles within the first few hours after exercising, it’s very important to eat during this window, and most effective within the first 30 minutes post-workout.

Here is a list of my favorite post-workout snacks and small meals that are easy-to-make after an exhausting workout:

  •  aha Pure Foods Lucky Bones soup
  • Fruit smoothie with soy/nut milk and a few tablespoons of soy/coconut yogurt
  • Slice of whole grain toast/crackers with natural peanut butter
  • Handful of nuts and fresh/dried fruit
  • Vegetable ginger soy stir-fry with basmati rice
  • Small tin of baked beans, chickpeas or other beans of choice
  • Lentil spinach soup
  • Roasted Teriyaki Mushrooms and Broccolini Soba Noodles
  • Salad wrap with hummus and tabbouleh, plus a glass of soy milk
  • Lentil burger with salad on a multigrain bun
  • Baked beans on toast with roasted tomato and mushroom (or veg of choice)

Now that you have all of the tools to get the most out of your workout: get up, get out there and get moving!



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