Nutrition: before, during and after exercise

Many athletes ask themselves: what should I eat before training? What about during exercise? And after training?

Obviously, to answer all these questions you will have to analyze it on a case-by-case basis, but … good news! There are general patterns you can follow without worrying about making mistakes..

Keep in mind that there are many factors that can influence what is best to eat, such as the sport you play or your health and fitness. So don’t take this text literally! Either way, reading this article will give you some basic ideas on what to eat, when, and how.

With that cleared up, let’s get started.

What – and how – to eat before training?

Before playing sports we need a nourished body, in a situation where our cells and muscles are able to perform well and thus minimize the risk of injury. To this end, the nutrients we consume (carbohydrates or sugars, fats and proteins) must be in optimal quantities and proportions.


You should know that lipids are the last element in obtaining energy, a very efficient but very slow energy: it takes longer to get in motion to nourish our muscle cells. The oxidation of fatty acids is activated 20-40 minutes after the start of sport and … it is almost impossible to deplete our body’s lipid reserves.

On the one hand, we already have the fats distributed throughout the body, which means that we have virtually inexhaustible reserves. If we eat fat before training, we will only work the stomach and decrease the mobilization of blood to where we want it to be transported: the muscles.. Therefore, consuming fat before exercise is not highly recommended as it slows down our digestion. Apart from that, our fat stores already provide us with this nutrient constantly, so you don’t have to worry about running out.


Speaking of sugars, the truth is that we have small stores in the liver and muscles. However, these glucose stores are not large enough to cover our body’s needs on a training dayHe physical, so we need to ingest a slowly absorbing carbohydrate to recharge our cells and not feel tired or faint during exercise.

Examples of slow-absorbing sugars are numerous, but the most recommended are pasta, rice, and bread. If they are whole, much better! Because whole foods are absorbed more slowly by our digestive system, our energy reserves will therefore cover more and better our needs during (and after) sport, in part thanks to their fiber content.

Regarding the fiberYou should know that it has two basic functions: lowering the glycemic index of food (this is linked to the rate of absorption of a food and the activation of insulin in our body) and cleansing our intestines.

A Little Known Example of the Perfect Pre-Workout Food: “10 Benefits of Chia Seeds for Your Body and Mind”


Last but not the least, we have the protein. These play a key role during exercise to prevent or slow down the processes of muscle destruction. In the protein part, keep in mind that the reserves last only 3 to 4 hours, whether it is vegetable (lentils for example) or animal proteins (a beef tenderloin).

The only thing that we will pay attention to when we decide to bet on plant or animal proteins will be in our blood group, because depending on the blood group, we will be more or less tolerant to one type of protein or another, therefore digestion. will occur faster or less. This point of blood groups and protein assimilation I will explain in another article in more detail, I don’t want to mess around with it.

Once we have seen what and how to eat before exercise, we move on to the next phase: during sports activity.

What – and what – to eat while exercising?

At this point in the training where we have started to sweat and notice how our muscles are pumping blood, we will need to ingest certain nutrients that allow us to maintain good hydration and energy levels. It is during perspiration that our body expels water and mineral components. This loss can be easily corrected by ingesting a isotonic drink. Isotonic water bottles contain fast-absorbing sugars needed to restore the water and glucose levels our bodies need during exercise. If the isotonic drink does not contain sugars, do not worry: you can add a few tablespoons of white sugar.

As for proteins during training, our body can only assimilate the proteins already broken down into amino acids. Amino acid is the smallest unit in which a protein can be broken down, a chain of amino acids forms a protein. Two types of amino acids are responsible for repairing the microscopic muscle fibers in our body that break down when we exercise. On the one hand, we have glutamine (which is the most important amino acid for the subject in question) and which plays a key role in the repair processes of muscle fibers.

On the other hand, we find the amino acids BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids), formed by the Valina, leucine e isoleucine, Three essential components of muscle metabolism. You can buy these amino acids at specialty stores, and they come in smoothie form, which you can make at home and take it easy while training. Important !: We must monitor the origin of these products, because not all are of the same quality.

Poor quality products can be dangerous for our health, be very careful !: This will also be a topic that I keep for another article, because it is worth explaining it well. In any case, be very careful when choosing nutritional supplements: it is better not to take them than to take ones that are harmful to your health.

Once we’ve covered what and how to eat during training, we move on: learning to feed after sweating bacon.

What – and what – to eat after training?

Immediately after exercise, we have a period of between 90 and 120 minutes during which our body is very receptive to all the nutrients that we ingest. This special moment is called the anabolic window, and it also happens in the morning when we wake up. So pay attention to the following because it is very important.

The best option for after exercise will be to have a smoothie fast absorbing carbohydrates, In order to cut the process of muscle destruction. This is caused by continuous stress on the muscle, which slowly damages the fibers during exercise to create micro-muscle tears. Because we get improvement in muscle quality (and therefore athletic performance), we have to go through this process of destruction. Of course, it is not advisable for the muscle fibers to remain degraded and without food to repair for a long time, hence the need for this first smoothie that I recommend.

Shortly after that first smoothie and before the anabolic window has ended, it is ideal to have a second smoothie, this time from protein, To be able to recover the muscle structure. You have to keep in mind that it will depend on the quality of the protein that the absorption takes place faster and that we will feel better digestively. This is because at the right time after exercise, we do not have a lot of blood in the organs involved in the digestion process.

The blood remains in the muscles to oxygenate them and repair the fibers, leaving the rest of the body a little impoverished, such as the stomach, which will have to make an extra effort to assimilate the food it receives and thus repair fibers. muscles. As a result of all this process, the quality of our muscles increases, which leads to progress in our overall physical condition.

Later, before the end of the anabolic window, we have to ingest one fast carbohydrates to replenish muscle stores of glucose. My staff recommendation is what contains boiled potatoes or sweet potatoes. As a source of protein, we will follow the same pattern as before, looking at a food that is suitable for us based on our blood type.

Nutrition and training: conclusions

As we have seen, nutrition before, during and after sports training is essential for optimizing physical performance, muscle recovery and overcompensation. I hope this mini guide will help you improve the quality of your workouts so that you can achieve your personal goals.

Now the most important thing: Train!

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