What to eat before, during and after your workouts
You probably don't need to be told that what you eat can have a big influence on the effectiveness of your workouts. Many gym bunnies are already familiar with frequently-cited phrases like "you are what you eat" and "abs are made in the kitchen". However, you could need detailed advice on what exactly you should eat and when. We could easily devote a whole series of blog posts to this subject, but here is what we could call an easy-to-digest - pun very much intended - beginner's guide.
Wise options for eating before exercise
Should you decide to eat two to three hours before exercising, a mixed meal and low-calorie drink like water would be suitable. You could, on the other hand, opt to tuck into a smaller meal up to an hour before the workout begins. Doing this would leave you with less time to digest the food, so a liquid food, like a shake or smoothie, would be appropriate. You could also plump for a cupped handful of berries for your carb needs, and a thumb of mixed nuts or flax seeds for your supply of fat.
For during exercise: protein, carbs... but not fats
For training that will take you less than two hours, your priority should be staying hydrated. However, food can also help you to meet your nutrition requirements during exercise. Consuming about 15g of protein per hour can help to prevent muscle breakdown and, as a result, make it easier for you to adapt to long term training. Meanwhile, eating carbs can help improve your performance and speed of recovery. You should, however, do your best to avert eating fats during exercise, as these are typically not as easy to digest and so can be too demanding for your stomach.
Don't hang about after your exercising is over...
Once your workout has finished, aim to eat something quickly to prevent your recovery from slowing. Your post-workout meal should be along the same lines as your pre-workout meal; in other words, a mixed meal including protein, vegetables, carbs and fats, consumed alongside a low-calorie drink like water. Generally-speaking, men should consume twice the amount at this stage than women. If you don't feel post-workout hunger, you could instead enjoy a smoothie that contains the above nutrients. Remember that, ultimately, these are only guidelines - there is no single diet that would be ideal for everyone.