Email Print Site Map
UC Food Safety
University of California
UC Food Safety

Eating right before, during and after a workout

It is "absolutely essential" to eat and drink two to four hours before workouts to fuel and hydrate the body, says UC Davis sports nutrition expert Liz Applegate. Eating before exercise is particularly important when taking part in activities that require hand-eye coordination, like basketball and fencing.

Applegate recorded a 13-minute video for the UC Cooperative Extension website Feeling Fine Online that outlines what and when athletes should eat for optimum health and performance.

The pre-workout meal, she advises, should be high in carbohydrates, low in fat and contain a moderate amount of protein. Applegate's examples:

  • 1 pita pocket with 3 tablespoons of fruit spread
  • 1 cup of oatmeal with 4 oz. of soy or lowfat milk
  • 6 oz. of vegetable juice with 1/2 cup apricots
  • High carbohydrate energy bar with no more than 10 grams of protein
During workouts, she advises athletes drink 1/2 to 3/4 cup fluid each 15 to 20 minutes. If the workout will last longer than an hour, consume about 100 calories each half hour. Foods to consume during workout sessions could include banana, apple, half a sandwich, sports drinks or energy gels.

"After exercise is where I see lots of mistakes," Applegate says.

She recommends athletes eat a specific amount of carbohydrates within the first 30 minutes post exercise. (To calculate the amount of post-exercise carbs for you, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.7. That gives the number of carbs in grams.) A small amount of protein and antioxidants will also boost recovery. Applegate's post-exercise examples are:

  • Smoothie with fruit and yogurt, protein powder or soy milk
  • Bean burrito with 6 oz. of fruit juice
  • Tuna sandwich with 8 oz. of cranberry juice
  • 2 mozzarella sticks, a whole grain English muffin and an orange

Recovery also requires rehydration. Applegate recommends drinking 16 oz. of fluid for each pound of sweat lost.

An apple after exercise aids recovery.
An apple after exercise aids recovery.

Posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 at 7:37 AM

No Comments Posted.

Leave a Reply

You are currently not signed in. If you have an account, then sign in now! Anonymously contributed messages may be delayed.




Security Code:
WMCVKN
:

Site Creation date 6/1/2009
Webmaster for site:  Zann Gates

Webmaster Email: zgates@ucdavis.edu