Professional athletes stick to a strict nutrition regimen as it is known that a well-balanced diet with the correct nutrient timing can significantly affect fitness results. Of course, if you're an amateur there is no need to follow the same scheme, however, you should know the main principles of proper nutrition to make your workouts more effective and achieve your goal faster. The research shows that the effectiveness of the workout depends on what you eat before, after and during the training.

What to eat before the exercise

Nutritionists recommend eating quality carbohydrates before the workout (1 -4 hours before the exercise) but make sure to eat them in moderation. Experts say that if your training is going to be longer than an hour then it's recommended to eat 1-4 grams of carbs per every 2.2 pounds of body weight. For example, if you get 2.000 cl per day, try to consume around 225-325 gr of carbs. The study has shown that consumption of carbs before working out significantly improves endurance exercise performance. The thing is that carbs give the body muscle glycogen that boosts energy which makes the workout more effective. Your menu can include low-fat granola bars, fig bars, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana, yogurt, pasta or other high-carbohydrate foods. Make sure to have sufficient water intake. Experts recommend drinking 5-10 ml of water per kg of body weight in the 2-4 hours before the training.


Many people prefer to workout in the morning on an empty stomach. The importance of breakfast is still under a hot discussion, some experts say that it can be skipped, other nutritionists say that breakfast is the main meal of the day. Personally, I do my morning workout on an empty stomach, it's just how I get used to doing so. Still, I do not recommend to make a habit out of it. Exercising on empty stomach can boost the fat burning process but it can also be harmful to your overall health and can even lead to ketosis. Moreover, training on an empty stomach may cause fatigue, dizziness, and lack of energy that will break your workout. You can eat eggs, cereal, and milk, toast with peanut butter, or fruit and yogurt to fuel a morning workout.

What to eat during exercise

The most important to do during the workout is to properly hydrate the body. Experts say that if your training is about 45 minutes, then all you need is to drink enough water. However, if you aim to work out longer, eat 30-60 grams of carbs per hour of training. For example, a medium apple has about 25 gr of carbs. These can be granola bars, sports drinks or fruit. High-carb food will boost your energy level and endurance of the training performance thus will make your training more effective.

What to eat after exercise

Experts recommend eating 1-1.2 gr of carbs per kg of body weight per 1 hour during 4-6 hours after the intensive training. Also, it's important to eat 15-25 grams of protein within one hour after the exercise. For instance, 1 boiled egg contains about 6 gr of protein. If the workout was light make sure to eat high-quality protein and carbs within 2-3 hours after the workout and don't forget to drink enough water to properly hydrate the body after the training.