Nutrition Tips to Fuel your Workout

Author: Coach Haley

Why does it matter what we eat before and after a workout?

When it comes to any fitness or health goal, your pre and post-workout nutrition is a key factor in achieving your goals and feeling good in the process.

Your pre-workout meal is designed to give your body the proper fuel to perform optimally during your workout, giving you enough energy and focus to sustain the session.

Your post-workout nutrition is designed to refuel your energy stores within the muscle, and stimulate muscle protein synthesis, helping to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. This is essential for any fitness goal because the muscle will make us stronger, more resilient, and increase our metabolism, which will help us achieve or maintain our desired body composition. 

Now let’s take a closer look at pre and post-workout portions and meal ideas.

Fueling Your Movement.

It’s no secret that group training at One Academy can feel like a cross-country trek, so you’re going to want a full tank for the trip!

One to two hours before your OA class, Personal Training session, or Open Gym workout, consume 20 to 40 grams or one to two palm-sized portions of protein, depending on body composition. As a general guide, men tend to be on the higher end and women on the lower end.

Your carbohydrate intake will vary depending on body weight and diet preference, but aim for 25% of your daily carbs for your pre-workout meal. You generally want your carbs coming from simple forms that are lower in micronutrients and fibre to ensure you are not impeding digestion during training. However, if you are eating two or more hours prior to exercise, this should not be a problem. 

You will want to keep fats on the lower end – 5 to 10 grams or 1 thumb or tablespoon. This ensures you are not slowing digestion too much, while still having enough to help with sustained energy.

A note on pre-workout nutrition: If you are training at 5 or 6 AM, you can opt for training fasted and see how your body reacts. However, if your goal is building muscle or getting stronger I suggest eating something smaller and easily digestible.  An example of this would be a protein coffee with a banana or bagel, cream of rice with egg whites, protein powder, or greek yogurt with fruit and granola.

Pre-Workout Recipe Ideas

Protein Oatmeal

  • 45g oats (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Salt 
  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice 
  • 1 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter 
  • ½ cup berries 

Instructions: Cook the oats, flax, cinnamon and salt in the microwave or on the stove with enough water to cover it (about 200 grams) for 2 minutes. Stir in the protein powder, top with nut butter and berries! 

This is also great to make the night before and bring with you in the morning – yummy hot or cold!

Pre-Workout Energy Balls

Coach Haley’s Pre-Workout Energy Balls

  • 1 cup oats 
  • ½ cup almond or peanut butter 
  • 4 Medjool dates (softened – remove pits and soak in boiling water for 5 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds 
  • 1 scoop protein powder 
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder (optional for chocolate)
  • 2-4 tbsp water if needed 
  • Sea salt

Instructions: Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Form into 10 balls and store in the fridge or freezer. Pair one or two of these with a protein shake or protein coffee (just blend ½ to 1 scoop of protein into your coffee and add desired creamer).

Rebuild and Recover.

Ensuring our body has the appropriate macronutrients for recovery is how we progress. After your workout, it is important to eat carbohydrates and protein within one hour to maximize muscle growth and repair. It also helps you feel energized and focused, carrying you through the rest of your day. 

For your post workout meal,  aim for enough protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis; about 20 grams, one palm, or one scoop of protein. You will also want a decent chunk of carbohydrates (about another 25% of your daily intake) post workout, to help restore glycogen levels and aid in muscle repair. Keep fats low, around five grams, so as to not slow digestion. 

A note on post-workout nutrition: You do not need to be shaking up a protein shake on the way out of the pit, however it is an easy thing to add into your routine that ensures you don’t head off and forget to refuel your body. With that being said, it is totally fine for you to go home and make a meal – just aim to eat within two hours of your training. 

Post-Workout Recipes

Getting the proper nutrient intake after your training session is so important. At One Academy, the protein smoothies at the cafe take the guesswork out of your post-workout nutrition. Stop by the cafe after your next workout, or if you’re an OA Virtual Warrior, blend up your own smoothie at home. 

Protein Shake

  • 1 scoop protein
  • ¼ cup egg whites (optional)
  • ½ or 1 banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
Post-Workout Nourish Bowl
  • 1 chicken breast, baked
  • ½ sweet potato, baked 
  • 2 cups mixed greens 
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • ½ tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard 

Time saving tip: Pre-cook a few days’ worth of  chicken and sweet potato to make your post-workout meal really convenient! Fill the bowl with mixed greens, top with chicken breast, sweet potatoes, and  dressing. So simple and so delicious.

Looking for more snack ideas? Check out some more Coach approved snacks.

Some food for thought.

Lastly, remember food is fuel! Fuel your body to perform, recover and reach your goals. And remember, these are simply guidelines – as coaches and everyday people, we have to emphasize consistency, not perfection. Ensuring you don’t hold the concept of “perfect” dietary habits on a pedestal fosters a healthy relationship with food and day to day flexibility. 

This information can be a lot to digest, but myself and a number of OA coaches are always nearby to help. If you have any questions or need advice on how to fuel your training sessions, stop by Front Desk to set up a Personal Training session with your Coach.