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Written by Ripe London on November 28, 2018

Energy Boosting Fruit to Eat Before & After a Workout

As any fitness enthusiast knows, diet is an important part of a workout regimen, with the food you eat both before and after exercise having a huge impact on your performance. Whether you want to build muscle or help sore muscles recover quicker, food can help. A good understanding of nutrition and what your body needs can not only enhance your workout but also aid the recovery process and minimise muscle damage.

Fruit is an excellent choice for workout food because it offers specific nutrients that are vital for exercise by helping to boost energy levels. Before we talk about the fruit that you should be eating before an intense workout, let's look at the nutrients that you should be consuming to ensure you're making the most of your workout routine.

The roles of nutrients in exercise

Eating the right foods before exercising is a great way to provide fuel for your body. It can help rebuild muscles, boost circulation and even help your body recover faster after a tough workout. This is why so many endurance athletes and bodybuilders rely so heavily on their diets and why skipping meals when you are trying to build muscle may not be the best thing for you.

There are three key nutrients needed to fuel your body during a workout: fat, carbohydrates and protein. With the right combination and amounts of these nutrients, you can maximise your performance during exercise by staving off hunger and fighting fatigue. Eating the right food post-workout will also help to aid recovery as well. Here are the roles each nutrient plays during and after exercise:

Fat

Although too much fat is of course a bad thing for your blood vessels and body in general, this particular nutrient is ideal fuel for longer forms of exercise. Fat is the most energy-dense of all nutrients, which is why your body stores excess fat for later use.

Moderate to low-intensity workouts that last for longer periods will utilise the energy from fat, which is why it is so important to include, in moderation, as part of your diet.

The unsaturated fats in nuts and nut products (e.g. almond butter and other nut butter) are a great source of this nutrient for workouts, as the ‘good’ fats found in nuts are heart-healthy and help to lower cholesterol levels while also providing the energy you need for exercise.

Carbohydrates

Glucose is essential fuel for workouts, as it powers your brain, and provides the main source of muscle energy for shorter, more intense workouts. This natural sugar comes from carbohydrates, which are particularly prevalent in fruit.

By eating carbohydrates as part of your pre-workout meal, you can help your body store glucose, which will increase your energy and keep you alert during your workout.

As your body can only store a limited amount of glucose, carbohydrates provide short-term energy boosts, which fade as your body’s glucose supplies become depleted. This is why carbohydrates are so important for short, intense exercise, while longer workouts require energy from fat.

Protein

Protein is the final nutrient that is important for exercise, particularly during pre-workout food, as it can help to increase muscle performance and growth. As with fat and carbs, this nutrient should also be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, in order to gain the benefits associated with protein.

This nutrient, which is common in meat and fish, as well as nuts, also helps to improve muscle recovery, making it an important aspect of any workout meal.

So, as you can see, only eating lean protein and amino acids won't help with muscle protein synthesis or you work out different muscle groups. It also won't do too much to help with muscle flexibility, weight loss or if you're only doing light exercise. Instead, a balanced diet is crucial. A balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fats can help you work out better, prevent muscle soreness, help when building muscle and even when trying to lose weight! So, let's take a look at what foods you should be eating in your diet that contain all of these things.

A bowl of the lowest calories fruit. A selection of kiwis, oranges, mango, strawberries, blueberries and grapes

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Food to Eat Before Workout

Eating fruit before a workout, either as part of a meal or a pre-exercise snack, can help provide the nutrients and energy you need to increase performance. When you eat is also important, as a large meal too close to working out can cause sluggishness and discomfort during exercise.

Ideally, you should aim to eat a balanced meal containing all the above nutrients 2-3 hours before you exercise. While it’s not always possible to do this, particularly if you’re trying to squeeze a quick gym visit in before work, eating this far in advance of a workout will offer you the best performance possible.

What food should I eat before a workout?

Examples of a pre-workout meal include:

  • a two-egg omelette with spinach
  • wholegrain toast
  • avocado
  • a serving of mixed berries
  • chicken with brown rice and roasted vegetables
  • an apple

If your workout starts in around 2 hours, then it’s best to avoid fats and focus on carbohydrates and protein to ensure you get the energy you need. Try a smaller meal rich in fruits and nuts, such as porridge with banana and almonds; or a mixed berries and banana smoothie with protein powder and milk.

It’s still important to eat something, even if you have hardly any time to spare before exercise. Greek yoghurt with any type of fruit is a good choice as is a trail mix containing dried fruit and nuts.

A banana is also an ideal pre-gym snack, as it is rich in carbohydrates and potassium, which helps to support muscle and nerve function. Apples, oranges, pears (and just about any other fruit) are also great choices for a quick bite before exercise.

These various options will give you the energy you need. We certainly aren't saying you eat all of this before your workout, you still need to fit into your workout clothes. However, eating fresh fruit and the other foods mentioned above before a workout is a highly effective way to increase your performance.

Energy Boosting Fruits For Post Workout Routine

While it is important to fuel up your body before a workout, your body also needs healthy foods after a workout to help with recovery, prevent muscle soreness and to ensure that you benefit from the workout routine.

Exercising uses a lot of energy, and drains your body's stores of glucose. As a result, it is difficult for your body to recover these spent energy levels if they are not replenished within 15 to 30 minutes after completing a workout.

A good way to recover energy after exercise is to eat a carbohydrate-rich snack, which replenishes your body’s energy supplies. Eating fruit after a workout can help to reduce post-exercise fatigue, and aid muscle recovery to prepare you for future workouts.

What foods can help reduce muscle soreness after a workout?

Fruit is an important part of any workout regime, providing vital nutrients that provide energy, improve your performance, and help to promote recovery. But so are many other foods that shouldn't be ignored. The best foods to eat after a workout to prevent injury and muscle soreness include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Fatty fish like salmon and tuna
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Bananas

Make eating fruit and veg easy!

If you live in London and would like fresh fruit and veg, as well as many other healthy snacks that you can build a healthy diet around, you need Ripe London. We hand-select all of our fruit and veg from the best markets in London and deliver them straight to your door! Order today and start building a healthier you tomorrow!

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