Gearing up to go pump some iron at the gym? Have you given some thought to what you should eat before and after a workout for maximum results. Nutritious food is your gym BFF!
Let’s take a look at what you should eat around your workouts.

The Basics
1. What you eat before your workout is critical for fueling the workout and increasing your performance throughout. The goal of the pre-workout meal is to:
Reduce muscle glycogen depletion.
Reduce muscle protein breakdown.
Reduce post workout cortisol levels
To make all of this happen successfully, your body needs 2 things:
Fast-digesting Carbs, like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, bananas, brown rice
Fast digesting protein, like whey protein isolate or egg whites

2. What you eat after your workout is crucial for optimizing the recovery process, and ensuring that your body has all of the supplies it needs in order to recover, improve and adapt to the training stimulus provided during your workout.
Immediately after you’ve trained, your muscles are depleted of glycogen, which fuels muscle contraction during lifting. After a hefty training session, your body tips toward a catabolic (muscle-wasting) state.
Specifically, the goal of the post-workout meal is to:
Replenish muscle glycogen that was depleted during your workout.
Reduce muscle protein breakdown caused by exercise.
Increase muscle protein synthesis.
Reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.
Greatly enhance overall recovery.
Reduce cortisol levels.

Your body once again needs 2 things:
Fast-digesting Carbs, like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, bananas, brown rice
Fast digesting protein, like whey protein isolate or egg whites
When do you need this post-workout meal? As soon as possible after your training session, preferably within 30 minutes or up to an hour after. It is nicknamed the anabolic phase, which refers to building or rebuilding something. In this case, muscle.

What to eat pre-and post workout
Before
Oatmeal and fresh fruit
Apple slices with almond butter
Greek yoghurt and trail mix
Lean protein include chicken, beef, egg whites

After
Salmon and sweet potato
Veggie omelet with avocado
Grilled chicken and mixed veggies

My personal preference meal before and after hitting the weights is a protein pancake containing a good amount of protein and carbs. It is quick to make and convenient too.
I make a batch when doing meal prep for the week, which can last a few days in the fridge.
Recipe
1 whole egg
7 egg whites
40-50g raw oats
1 Tablespoon honey / Ground Cinnamon to taste
1 Teaspoon dried cranberries (optional)
Preheat a pan and spray with a non-stick spray. Mix all ingredients together and pour in the medium-heat pan. Cook on one side and carefully flip over to cook on the other side.

There are many variations of recipes available where you can choose to use whey powder, fruit, almond flour etc., according to your preferences. Play around and find the recipe that tickles your fancy.
Make sure that whatever you eat around your training times fit in with your daily macros. 40% Protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat is more or less the standard,

About hydration
Water acts as your body’s cooling system, so you don’t want to get dehydrated. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of fluids with meals, and drink about 2 cups of water 2 hours before exercise. Also sip on water while you train.
So…sports drinks or plain water?
Water is often enough. But if you exercise for more than an hour in hot, humid conditions, sports drinks may help. They provide you with carbohydrates and sodium, as well as fluids. If you sweat a lot, a sports drink might be preferable to water.

Happy training!