Simple Pre & Post Training Nutrition

April 23, 2016

The internet is paved with spaghetti junctions at every turn when it comes to Pre & Post workout information. It can often be overwhelming, confusing and infuriating when trying to make head or tails of what’s the best fit for your particular training goals, your individual taste and your time.


Questions consistently asked here at Fitter Faster Stronger from new members and new personal training clients often run as follows:


“I’m going to the gym later what’s best to eat before I go?”

“What’s best to eat after the gym, I don’t want to lose all my hard work?”

“Should I take supplements?”



At it’s most simplistic think of pre and post workout nutrition for what it is fueling and refueling.

Pre: Provide sufficient energy for your body to perform during your training

Post: Repair,Replenish and Restore your body so that you can perform for your next training session


If you are a non-elite athlete, your emphasis very simply should be on consuming a well balanced meal 1-3 hours prior to your session and another well balanced meal 1-2 hours after your session. The variance in times particularly prior is down to the individual, some can comfortably perform having eaten an hour before others need more time. Gauge from personal experience where you lay within this time period.


The Quality of the nutrients in your meal and the quantity will have the biggest impact on your performance and recovery.  So simply ensuring your meal is healthy and the portion is adequate in relation to your body type is the most effective way to ensure you are ticking all the boxes. Enabling you to the get most out of your session and to repair and rebuild after it.


Pre-Training Meal Example (1-3 Hours Prior)




2 Palms of Protein dense Food 

2 Fists of Vegetables (Leafy Green best)

2 cupped handful of carb dense food

2 thumbs of fat dense food




1 Palms of Protein dense Food 

2 Fists of Vegetables (Leafy Green best)

1 cupped handful of carb dense food

1 thumbs of fat dense food


So in practice Salmon, Spinach, Sweet potato, Avocado.



“What if I don’t have time to sit down? I get caught in meetings and won’t have time to eat”.

Firstly making the time to consume nutritious food will always enhance your performance in and out of the office not hinder it. Also if you get caught and prefer to consume something within an hour of training a liquid smoothie is the most effective way to ensure your body has a chance to absorb it.


Pre-Training Smoothie (0-1 hours prior to workout)



  • 1 scoop of protein powder

  • 1 fist of vegetables (spinach)

  • 1 fist of carb dense food (raspberries)

  • 1 thumb of fat dense foot (peanut butter)

  • To own preference Water, Whole Milk, Almond Milk etc



“Is coffee good or bad before your session, doesn’t it dehydrate you?”


Caffeine can enhance your performance when consumed 15-60 minutes prior to your session, it has also been shown to aid in recovery post sessions and in trials it has been shown to have no effect on sweat rate, water loss, or fluid balance even in heat conditions. Simply caffeine in moderate doses (medium black americano, espresso etc) if tolerated by the individual is fine to consume pre-training.


Good link from Coach Rory here @FFS  :




If your training last less than 2 hours and you are not exposed to high temperatures. Water should be more than adequate as your sole hydration provision. Hydration does not involve throwing back a bottle of water 5 mins before a session, it’s a daily process. Sipping consistently throughout the day is the most effective way to stay hydrated. Here is a simple formula to see how much you need to consume.


Bodyweight x (30-40)= mls to sustain adequate hydration . The 30-40 variance is based on your individual size. So if you weigh 50kgs you will be the 30 mark, 100kgs+ the 40.


So for an individual who weighs 75 kilos that’s 75kgs x 35mls = 2.5 litres + per day.


So …. litres a day for a ….kg individual to maintain adequate hydration(this will increase slightly if you are sweating heavily during training, 500+ml). A good tip is to have a litre bottle and make sure it’s been filled and consumed your + times a day.



“All the pros drink sports drinks, it would surely make my sessions better?”

Most sports drinks, isotonics etc are tailored toward and tested on elite endurance athletes. Quite simply the vast majority of non-elite athletes do not lose the amount of electrolytes these drinks aim to replace. In turn you could be consuming an incredibly calorie dense drink loaded with sugars that could be detrimental to your training goals particularly if fat loss is one of them.


If you do sweat a lot (particularly salty sweat) and feel the need for an electrolyte drink here is a simple, natural, tasty and cheap homemade alternative.





Makes 1 litre

  • Half an orange (cut into segments)

  • 3 mint leaves

  • Teaspoon of Himalayan Pink Salt

  • Add cold water


Post- Training Meal (0-2 hours Post)

Often client and members ask me about the “window of opportunity” to consume food after your session. While it can often be overstated you should try to get your post -training meal within 0-2 hours and as soon as possible if it has been a while since your last meal. Essentially try to aim to be consuming within that 2 hour slot post-training, the sooner afterwards, generally the more welcomed.



2 Palms of Protein dense Food

2 Fists of Vegetables (Leafy Green best)

2 cupped handful of carb dense food

2 thumbs of fat dense food




1 Palms of Protein dense Food

1 Fists of Vegetables (Leafy Green best)

1 cupped handful of carb dense food

1 thumbs of fat dense food


So practical example Steak, Broccoli, Potatoes, Whole pure butter.



Post-Training Smoothie (0-2 hours Post)

“I don’t feel like eating after my sessions, my stomach is usually a bit off?”

A very effective way to consume a lot nutrients in a effective way on an unsettled stomach is to consume a liquid blend, it can often have a settling effect and I find members and clients find it much more palatable especially if it is cool and refreshing.


Using the same portion control as above for male and female and using the protein source as a protein powder. So for example

  • Protein Powder

  • Whole Milk, Water or any variation

  • Dark Leafy Greens

  • Fruit (Bananas, Berries etc)

  • Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews etc)

  • Ice Cubes



Often particularly with younger clients the first question asked is what supplement should I take? I will usually ask a number of questions: What did you eat today? How much water did you drink? How much sleep did you get. Essentially these are just to reset the mindset. Supplements where appropriate should complement a good diet and lifestyle not replace one! Having said that, supplements can be useful if you are not getting enough from whole foods and you want the convenience and easy to use nature of them. A protein powder for example as used in some of our smoothies.


Keep it Simple and It’s Simple to Keep Up!


For the majority us of combining high quality nutrients such as Proteins, Carbs, Healthy Vegetables, Fats, and some fruits within our portion control guidelines 1-3 hours prior to our training and 0-2 hours post our training is the most effective and efficient way to ensure we fuel our bodies to perform and rebuild them afterwards.


Use the blueprints above and use your own individual tastes and creativity to ensure you are meeting your needs and remember

“You don’t run a jet engine on red lemonade… fill accordingly”


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