Nutrition and Your Workout

Optimal nutrition is important before, during and after exercise! Skipping meals before a workout can affect athletic performance so does not eating after a workout or competition leaves the athlete running empty on energy.

The Pre-Workout Meal

This meal keeps athletes from feeling hungry and sluggish before and during the game. And it helps to maintain optimal levels of energy (blood glucose) for the exercising muscles during training and competition.

While athletes need fuel to perform, they should not exercise on a full stomach to avoid indigestion, nausea, and possibly vomiting. It is recommended to eat a meal 2-4 hours before exercise.

The ideal pre-workout meal should be primarily carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat. Carbohydrates are digested rapidly. Protein and fat take longer. Pre-workout meals high in fat (like a lot of options at fast food restaurants) can cause stomach upset, gas, and bloating.

Hydration During workout

During workout, athletes should drink sports drinks to avoid dehydration and provide energy and minerals for working muscles.

The Post-Exercise Meal

Muscles are most receptive to recovery during the first 30 minutes post workout, this replenishes your muscles for upcoming event.

The same kind of high-carbohydrate, power-packed foods are recommended for BOTH before and after workout:


4 or more hours before

  • Grilled chicken/rice/fruit
  • House food
  • Turkey sandwich/raw carrots
  • String cheese/grapes/whole-grain or brown toast
  • Energy bar/Sports drinks
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce
  • 2-3 hours before

  • Cereal/low-fat milk
  • Fresh fruit
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • Sports drink
  • Energy bar
  • 1 hour or less before AND 30 minutes after options

  • Yogurt
  • Protein shake/fruit
  • Energy bar
  • Sports drink
  • Dried fruits/nuts
  • Credit: Nathalie Djabrayan, Licensed Clinical Dietitian)