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Before Exercise

Eat a light meal one to two hours before your workout — you need the energy to fuel your exercise.

This is especially important if you’re working out in the morning. Make sure you have breakfast, as most of the energy from your last meal would have been used up in your sleep.

But don’t eat too much; exercising on a full stomach can give you a tummy ache and spoil your workout. Planning to exercise after a large meal? Wait three to four hours before exercising so the food has time to digest.

What to Eat and Drink

In general, your pre-exercise meal should contain mainly carbohydrates and some protein. The carbs will give you energy to power through the workout, while a small amount of protein may help build muscle and aid muscle recovery[1].

For the best fuel, choose natural, non-processed foods prepared in healthier ways. And avoid heavy food like curries, gravies, and deep-fried items, which can leave you sluggish.

Try one of these meal combos:

  • Wholegrain toast with peanut butter

  • Wholegrain toast with cheese

  • Egg or tuna sandwich

  • Yoghurt and fresh fruit

  • Wholegrain crackers with hummus

  • Oats made with milk

And remember to drink water before your workout!

During Exercise

Working out for 30 minutes to an hour? You probably don’t need to eat during your workout. You do need to stay hydrated — you’re constantly losing water through perspiration, especially in sunny Singapore.

What to Eat and Drink

The best way to stay hydrated is to drink plain water, so always have a water bottle with you when you exercise.

If you’re exercising for more than an hour, have a handful of raisins or a banana to keep you going.

Sports drink: go or no?

While sports drinks replenish the salts that we lose through perspiration, they also contain sugar and calories. Stick to good old water unless you’re doing high-intensity activities like mountain biking, or your workout lasts longer than an hour.

Bonus tip: go for a sports drink with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS); HCS sports drinks contain at least 25% lesser sugar compared to regular sports drinks.

After Exercising

What you choose to eat after your workout will also affect your workout, believe it or not!

What to Eat and Drink

Exercise involves working our muscles so they grow stronger. What we eat after the workout should help our muscles repair and grow — and protein does just that!

We also want to restock our fuel supplies, so besides protein, make sure you get enough carbohydrates in your post-workout meal too.

Ideally, you should have a meal within an hour of finishing your workout.

Some meal ideas:

  • Two chapattis and tandoori chicken with yogurt

  • Yong tau foo with non-fried, non-processed options like tofu and lady’s fingers

  • Economic rice with meat and vegetables; make sure to choose non-fried items

  • Egg omelette with avocado on toast

  • Grilled chicken with vegetables

And remember, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink enough water to replace the fluids you’ve lost. Tip: keep a pitcher of water infused with a few slices of lemon or orange in your fridge so you always have chilled water to drink after exercise. Shiok!


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References

  1. Workout nutrition explained. Precision Nutrition
    Retrieved from http://www.precisionnutrition.com/workout-nutrition-explained