Planning the Best Nutrition to Improve Your Workout

You don’t have to use numbers, scientific figures, and apps in order to get good nutrition for your exercise regime. No matter what level you train or compete at, nutrition is an important part of your process. If you follow these basic steps, you can be on your way to staying healthy and maximizing your workouts.

nutrition tips for better workouts

Balance is the Key

You’ll need a balanced diet if you want a constant supply of quality energy to help with your muscles and strength conditioning. To do this, eat a breakfast that’s balanced and continue eating the same healthy foods all day. What foods should you eat? Complex carbs give you the fuel needed to exercise, so eating a decent amount is key if you want consistent training. Not only that, you should have plenty of protein and fats to boot. In other words, your meal needs to have carbs, protein, and fat.

What Should You Eat Before Exercising?

Everyone needs a pre-exercise meal, which should be consumed a few hours before you work out. It will depend on the intensity, length, and what time you exercise. For instance, if you work out in evenings, your lunch should have complex carb-rich foods that can be digested with ease. These include veggies, fruits, pasta, and breads. Salad with some protein sprinkled in is even more ideal. To do that, sprinkle some lean meat on your salad and then enjoy.

On the other hand, if you exercise after you wake up, eating a small breakfast consisting of an egg, toast, or fruit can make you perform the best. Of course, people react different ways, so experiment with your own meals and see what works best. No matter what, however, you should always drink some water before and after your workout. Check out my more detailed guide on eating before exercising.

What Should You Eat When You Only Have 30 Minutes Before Your Workout?

It depends on what type and how intense the exercise will be. You may need a snack before the workout, or you may not. If you plan to have an intense anaerobic workout that lasts for over an hour, eat some trail mix. If it just lasts for 30 minutes, eat a banana, some pretzels, half of an energy bar, some figs, or a granola bar. If it’s even shorter, you don’t have to consume anything, but a small sports drink can help.

Staying Hydrated During the Workout


You need plenty of hydration, and this will depend on how intense and how long your exercise is, as well as the weather. If you don’t want to deal with calculations, just drink 8floz of water for every 15 minutes.

If your workout is longer than 90 minutes, consuming 10 floz of your favorite sports drink every 15 minutes to a half hour. These are rich in carbs, which you’ll need if you exercise for that long.

Good hydration is really important - too many people exercise without paying attention to their intake of liquids before, during and after exercise. It is important to feel good and keep your motivation to train. This one simple tip will have an immediate and obvious effect on the quality of your workout and how you feel afterwards - try drinking more!

Staying Hydrated After the Workout

Drink enough water to replenish what you’ve lost through sweating. To determine this, weigh yourself before and after the workout. Drink three cups of water per pound lost. Alternatively, check the color of your urine. Depending on the color, you may be dehydrated. Dark urine can mean dehydration, while clear urine means you’re good to go. Remember, it is hard to drink too much water after exercise!

Eating After the Workout

You should eat after you exercise within two hours after a long or strenuous workout in order to reduce your glycogen stores, which is the energy that is created when you consume carbs.

Eating 100-200 grams of carbs within two hours of exercising helps
to give you back your glycogen stores.

However, there’s a better way to go, and it gives you even more energy. Consume protein and carbohydrates. You need to have four grams of carbohydrates per one gram of protein in order to get a perfect balance. Foods can work to do this, but a drink, such as a protein shake or a sports drink, can be easy to digest, which will give you your energy within the short time you’re supposed to receive it.

Sports drinks can be great as you often don't feel like eating for some time after a really intense event or workout. Have that drink, then eat when you have recovered. You don't need to be really scientific about it, just taking some care with what and when you eat, and drinking lots, will have a noticeable effect on the quality of your training.

Brad Beckwith

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