What to Eat Before and After You Work Out

The food we eat is not only important for keeping us healthy, but what and when we eat greatly impacts our strength and performance.

From evolveyou-team | Apr 22, 2024

That’s why we’re here to guide you on what and when to eat before and after your workout to maximise your results and minimise your recovery, let’s go!

What to eat before a workout

Have you ever wondered why some days you feel like you crushed your workout and then others you feel like you’ve got zero energy? When it comes to
performance, output and energy your muscles rely on glucose from carbs for fuel. Numerous studies have shown that carbs like:

  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Sweet & Normal potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Whole Grain bread

can improve your time to exhaustion during exercise, meaning you’re able to work out harder for longer. Not only that but research has also shown that consuming enough carbs at the right time will also help your body preserve your precious muscle, as it utilises the glucose from the carbs as its preferred source of fuel.

Timing is key

When it comes to when to eat, allowing enough time before you work out is crucial, so that your body has the time it needs to digest the food. To ensure adequate digestion, aim to enjoy a balanced meal containing a complex carb source 2-3 hours before you exercise. This will give your body a steady flow of energy to help you power through your workout. Here are some pre-workout meals you could enjoy:

🍴 Eggs on whole grain toast
🍴 Chicken, veg and brown rice
🍴 Chickpea and lentil curry

Or why not try our delicious healthy take on Apple Crumble to fuel your muscles and satisfy your tastebuds!


  • 20g Oats
  • 1 Cooking apple
  • 5g Flaked almonds
  • 5g Pecans
  • tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp Sweetener
  • 1 tsp Butter
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Maple syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, peel & cut the apple into chunks.
  2. In another bowl add butter, cinnamon, maple syrup, oats, nuts and mix.
  3. In an ovenproof dish, add the apple and sprinkle sweetener on top.
  4. Cover with your crumble layer and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. 
  5. Serve with yoghurt and enjoy! 

If you find yourself rushed for time and are unable to make a full meal, (we all have those mental mornings), then it’s best to enjoy a simple carb like a banana, or a protein shake with a piece of fruit, 10-15 minutes before you work out. These types of carbs are quick to digest, giving you a quick release of energy, so that you’re ready to smash your workout.

What to eat after a workout

When it comes to helping your body recover after a workout, it’s essential that you enjoy a snack or meal that’s packed with protein. Protein is the building blocks of our cells, it’s what repairs our muscles and lays the foundation for healthy and strong bones. Great sources of protein include:

⭐️ Chicken
⭐️ Fish
⭐️ Tofu
⭐️ Eggs
⭐️ Greek yoghurt
⭐️ Lentils & Legumes

Just like your pre workout meal, timing is key. Studies have shown that for optimum recovery the quicker you consume your protein source, the faster your recovery time. So, if you’ve had an intense strength session, aim to enjoy a post-workout recovery snack or meal ideally straight after, or within 1-2 hours of your workout. Simple, easy and effective post workout snacks are things like:

🍴 Oatmeal and fruit

🍴 Greek yoghurt and fruit

🍴 Protein shake

🍴 Cottage cheese on toast

Top tip: For more yummy post-workout inspiration check out our recipe book.

Hydration station

While what you eat can impact your performance and recovery, staying hydrated is an essential and often underrated component when it comes to your results. Did you know that staying hydrated can:

  • Boost performance
  • Help you lift heavier
  • Aid recovery
  • Prevent injury
  • Help your joints stay lubricated
  • Increase your reaction time
  • Help you last longer

In fact water is so crucial that studies have shown that even mild hydration can significantly impact our performance! So, if you’re wanting to get the most out of your workouts, recovery and results, make water your best friend!

How much should I be drinking?

General guidelines recommend at least 9-11 cups a day, however this can greatly vary depending on:

  • How active you are
  • If you’re sweating more
  • If it’s a hot country
  • Your time of the month
  • Your genetics

A great way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is by the colour of your pee! The darker the colour, the more you need to drink, the clearer the colour, the more hydrated you are!

Top tip: Track your water intake in our app to stay on top of how much you’re drinking

The bottom line

If you’re wanting to get the most out of your workouts, then what you eat, when you eat and drinking enough water is key! Fueling your body with carbs, helping it recover with protein and staying hydrated will allow you to push harder, feel more energised as you maximise your results.

If you’re in need of inspiration with what to eat, then check out our recipe book in the EvolveYou App for yummy and nutritious meals.

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Alice Fontecilla
Alice Fontecilla is a qualified personal trainer and sports massage therapist with over 7 years of experience in the world of health and fitness. She also holds a Gestalt counselling certificate as she believes true health stems from a harmonious mind, body and soul.

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