Eating for energy

Eating for energy

Because carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source,you need to have some, whether in the form of a meal or snack, within two hoursof a cardio workout. If you’re doing resistance training, include some proteinto buffer your muscles against damage and speed up repair and recoveryafterwards. “It doesn’t have to be a lot of protein, just some. You don’t wantto be eating fruit before weight training, you’re better off having yoghurt,”says sports dietitian andexercise physiologist, Joanne Turner. Beyond these basic rules, if you’re exercising regularly, it’svital to eat a balanced, varied diet – both for sustained energy and to ensureyour body gets the full spectrum of nutrients it needs to function at its best.


The ideal morning meal should contain protein to supportmuscle health and ward off mid-workout hunger pangs and fibre to maintain ahealthy digestion. “It should also include calcium to help your bones buildstrength in response to high-impact exercise,” Finally, it shouldcontain low-GI carbohydrates, which not only sustain energy, but have beenfound to speed up fat metabolism when eaten before exercise.

Try: *Cereal with milk and fruit *Fruit smoothie*Hard-boiled egg on toast with a glass of skim milk *Yoghurt with sliced banana*Wholemeal English muffin with low-fat cottage cheese and tomato

Lunch or dinner

Use the plate guideline: fill half your plate withvegetables, a quarter with low-GI carbs like wholegrain pasta or Doongara riceand a quarter with lean protein like fish, chicken or legumes. “Eating avariety of nourishing, nutrient-dense foods not only provides your body withfuel, but you get nutrients like B vitamins to use that fuel more effectively,iron and zinc to improve oxygen delivery, and antioxidants which reduceexercise-induced cell damage,”

Try: *Wholemeal tuna and salad sandwich *Vegetable stir-frywith vermicelli noodles and lean meat or tofu *Homemade hamburger with leanmince, salad and a grainy roll *Grilled fish or chicken with sweet potato andgreen vegetables


If you exercise several hours after a main meal or tend torun out of steam mid-session, a pre-workout snack can help. “If it’s less thanan hour before your workout, you might want to choose rapidly absorbing carbslike a cereal bar or rice cakes, but if your goal is weight loss, plan to havea more satisfying snack like yoghurt and fruit a few hours before, which hasappetite-management benefits as well as topping up your glycogen levels,”

Try: *Fresh pineapple and yoghurt *Half a peanut buttersandwich *Handful of dried fruit and nuts *Raw vegetables with hummus *Glass ofskim milk

Back to blog