What you eat before or after workout will have a big impact on how you perform in the gym, how quickly you recover and the results you see in the mirror. Regardless of whether you are trying to build muscle or you will be at a disadvantage if you completely ignored pre and post workout meal. 

What you eat around your workout is important because it speeds up your progress more than any other meal you eat throughout the rest of the day. 

It is  best to keep protein breakdown rate lower and protein synthesis rate higher. Since amino acids are the building block to your muscle, they are essential for increasing muscle protein synthesis. 

pre workout meals containing egg, nuts, fruits

Pre workout meal ideas

Some study shows that having protein before a workout enhances your muscle growth while meanwhile other study shows the exact opposite. Having a pre workout meal containing amino acids and carbs can even provide more benefits for your muscles than post workout.

  And the reason why these studies show different results is because it depends on what you already ate the rest of the day. If you already had a meal with enough protein a couple of hours before you workout it doesn’t much affect muscle breakdown during workout.

 But if you haven’t had any protein within 3 to 4 hours before you workout it’s a good idea to eat 20-40 grams  of protein to get some amino acid into your bloodstream. Chicken breast, egg , turkey and fish are some good sources of protein. 

But if you workout in the morning right after waking up you can take protein shakes since they digest a lot faster. 

Carbs before a workout

Should I take carbs before or after workout ?

Eating carbs before a workout will provide your muscle more additional fuel for your exercise.This will allow you to lift more heavier weight for more reps which will lead to more muscle growth if you are bulking and less loss if you are cutting.  

If you are doing a short intense workout lasting less than an hour you should have high glycemic carbohydrates like white rice, potato and banana before your workout. 

If you are going for a longer duration endurance type workout, you should go for a low glycemic slow digesting source of carbs like BROWN RICE , SWEET POTATO and OATS. 

Many body builders suggest to split the total daily carbohydrate intake between your pre and post workout meals. If you are eating 300 grams a day you will have 75 grams of carbs before workout and 75 grams after workout and other 150 grams of carbs throughout the rest of the day. 

If your main goal is to get muscle or get stronger this strategy can be particularly useful. 

Eating fats  before a workout won’t really make an impact on performance so you can take some fat.

Pre workout supplement

Before taking a pre workout supplement you should know the type of exercise you are doing. These supplements improve certain particular aspects of exercise performance. Some help to increase strength or power, while others help to  increase your endurance.  

Creatine helps to  increase muscle mass, strength and exercise performance .

Caffeine is found in our coffee, tea and other food. It makes you feel less tired and increases power output and performance.

Some best and easy pre workout meal ideas

  • Oatmeal containing milk and fruit
  • Apple and nut butter (peanut, almond, etc)
  • Trail mix that includes both nuts and fruit
  • Greek yogurt with fruit
  • Peanut butter ,banana sandwich
  • Smoothie with fruit and protein powder

Post workout meal

post workout meals

Let’s talk about what to eat after a workout . Once you finish training the rate of muscle protein breakdown increases and you start to lose muscle tissue. That’s why it is important to have post workout meal to get about 20 – 40 gram of protein into your body within a couple hours after finishing a workout. 

The protein source should be fast digesting like a whey protein shake.  This will quickly deliver the amino acids leucine to your muscle cells and leucine is a powerful stimulator of protein synthesis. It will also release more insulin which helps to prevent muscle protein breakdown. 

Studies suggest that taking protein immediately after a workout will help you build more muscle than taking it later on a day. You can take within 30 mins of completing your workout.

If you didn’t have a pre-workout diet the sooner you can take down some protein after a workout the better it will be for your muscles. It is best to take post workout meal for muscle gain.

Carbs after workout

Carbs after workout which spike insulin which will increase protein synthesis. However protein alone can provide the spike in insulin that you need to increase protein synthesis.

Taking post workout meals helps to restore glycogen level in the muscle cells, having more glycogen level increase your performance and helps you lift heavier weight for your next workout.  Your muscles are in a sponge like state after workout ready to absorb carbohydrate.

 It is recommended to take 30 to 50 grams of fast digesting carbs like potato, bananas or white rice after your workout. You can add some healthy fat too. 

Post workout supplements 

Fast digesting protein like whey protein shake can benefit you after workout. Other than protein powder the only supplement that i recommended is creatine.

Creatine supplementation will boost energy production in muscle cells to improve performance. So,taking up to 5 gram of creatine after a workout can help although it doesn’t really matter what time of the day you take creatine. 

Some best and easy post workout foods

  • Water
  • Egg omelet
  • Salmon with sweet potato.
  • Protein shake and banana
  • Grilled chicken and vegetables
  • Greek yogurt, peanut butter


I am Bhishan Rai . I am a fitness trainer, blogger and currently working on lafemmefitness.


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