Chelsea Fitness Training Centre

What to eat BEFORE and AFTER working out One of the most frequent questions we get from our athletes is what they should eat before a workout.  Many people who start doing more intense exercise experience nausea if they have not eaten properly prior to the workout and sometimes even if they have. When you start a new intense workout program your body generates more lactic acid then it is used to. Your brain thinks you are being poisoned and tries to get you to throw up.  It is VERY important to fuel (i.e. eat) prior to and after your working out, ideally one and a half to one hour prior to your workout and a half hour to an hour after. Your body needs fuel to burn while you are working out so that you have the energy to do the workout properly and so that your brain doesn’t think you are starving or running from a bear or something, in which case it will hang on to precious body fat as reserve energy. After your workout, your body needs to repair and build muscle fibers (yes, even if you are only doing a “CADIO” type workout you are still breaking down muscle fibers!).  THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS THIS:  IF YOU DO NOT EAT PROPERLY SOON AFTER YOU WORKOUT YOU MAY AS WELL NOT EVEN WORK OUT!  We cannot stress this enough!  The entire reason for working out is to RECOVER PROPERLY TO MAXIMIZE THE EFFECT OF THE WORKOUT!  Your body is starving, particularly for protein, to build muscle and BURN FAT!  The prevailing thought among people trying to lose weight is that if they starve themselves before and after their workout they get a double bonus and will lose more weight and NOTHING could be farther from the truth!  WORKING OUT ISN’T ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT, IT IS ABOUT BURNING FAT AND GAINING MUSCLE! Each athlete is different regarding what works for them for their pre and post workout meals.  I swear by a veggie / fruit protein smoothie prior to and right after my workouts.  Check out this video for more information on my EPIC smoothie recipe: I have found the following foods to be good pre-workout foods:

  • Oatmeal
  • Fruit (Bananas are a great source of potassium to prevent cramping)
  • Whole Grain toast / English muffin with NATURAL Peanut Butter.  (We typically do not advocate eating any type of process grain food but if I’m going to do an intense workout and burn it all off then sometimes I still go for the toast or English muffin)
  • Fruit / Veggie / Protein Smoothie
You should avoid pre-workout foods that are too high in dairy or fat content as these tend to be more difficult to digest and may cause more nausea during your workout. After your workout you can pretty much eat anything you want that is not processed (i.e., WHOLE FOODS).  Focus on getting as much good sources of protein (lean meats, eggs, cottage cheese) in this meal as you can.  Your body is starving for nutrients and protein to repair and build muscle and burn fat during this time. If you are trying to GAIN WEIGHT then you may need to resort to some processed foods (e.g., more dairy and things like pancakes) to facilitate this, which may not be as healthy for you overall but the fastest way to gain muscle mass.  Otherwise, to gain weight you would need to eat a SIGNIFICANT VOLUME of the WHOLE FOODS to accomplish the same gain. The other question we get quite frequently is what about protein shakes and supplements?  Our answer to this is that you should only use supplements like protein shakes as just that A SUPPLEMENT AND NOT A REPLACEMENT!  Good WHOLE foods are much better for you and your health and fitness than ANY SUPPLEMENT will be! For more detailed information on our overall general nutrition plan check out the following link: If you would like more detailed nutritional coaching we offer a one on one focused coaching program to help people really develop life changing great nutritional habits.  Please contact us at or (734) 433-9607 if you would like more information on this service. Please share your go to pre and post workout meals with us!

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