What to eat before, during, and after training

What athletes consume and when they consume it, in relation to training or an event, is important . To adeqauetly fuel the body for activity and repair muscle tissue, follow the guidelines below.


(2-4 hours before exercising)

The pre-exercise carbohydrate rich meal should consist of foods that can be easily and quickly digested to help top off glycogen stores.

Ideally, the last full meal should be consumed 2-4 hours prior to exercising. This helps ensure that adequate time is provided for food to empty out of your stomach. Excess food sitting in your stomach may lead to nausea and discomfort during your activity.


During Exercise

For shorter exercise bouts, athletes should follow the recommended nutrition game plan to ensure adequate muscle glycogen stores. However, if your activity will be continuous and greater than one hour, you will need to consume carbohydrates at regular intervals. This will provide your body with the energy it requires to perform at its maximal potential and to prevent dehydration. Sport drinks, bars and gels, or real food can be used to stabilize blood sugar levels during exercise, while helping fuel your muscles and delay fatigue.

How much?

Slowly refuel with ~30-60 grams of simple carbohydrates every hour when exercising. Try not to cram in all 30-60 grams of carbohydrates in at one time.

Doing so will divert blood away from working muscles and will contribute to inadequate nutrient and oxygen delivery to working muscles.


Post Exercise

(within 30 minutes of stopping your activity)

To fully recover after exercising, you should consume carbohydrates, protein, and fluids as soon as possible. Carbohydrate and protein right after you exercise will replenish glycogen stores and insure rapid recovery. Glycogen repletion delays the onset of fatigue during training, replaces fluid and electrolyte loses and stimulates glycogen synthesis.

How much?

For most athletes, a good rule of thumb is to consume at least 50 grams of carbohydrates immediately and to follow-up with a well-balanced meal within 2 hours. Protein consumption after exercise will promote muscle tissue building and repair. The combination of carbohydrate and protein has a synergistic effect on building muscle.


As with all nutrition information, this is just a general guideline – consult our sports nutrition experts for personalized nutrient recommendations.



January 11, 2014