A common question from anyone on a healthy eating and weight loss plan is whether they should eat before or after exercise. In general, you should eat both before and after exercise.
During exercise, your body burns off calories in the form of fuel, and so your body needs calories to burn off. You don’t want to have a full stomach when you exercise, as you’ll feel nauseous, sluggish and you may end up with stomach cramps – but equally, you don’t want to be hungry when you exercise as you may feel weak, dizzy and unable to perform.
The best solution is to eat a light snack, such as a piece of fruit – such as a banana before your workout. This will improve your fat burning potential, will give you fuel and energy but will not make you full.
If you eat a large meal, wait around 4 hours before exercise, and if you eat a regular meal, you need to wait around 2 hours before exercise. Choose foods rich in slow burning carbohydrates, such as wholemeal pasta/soba noodles, wholegrains and wholegrain bread etc and plenty of fruit and veg. You should also include protein, as the protein will aid muscle recovery following your workout.
After your workout, you need to eat because your body has just worked off lots of fuel and calories and it needs to recuperate. Ideally, eat about half an hour following your workout, and make it a meal that includes protein, complex carbohydrates and some healthy fats too.
Protein is especially important for you to eat after exercise as it aids muscle recovery, helping your muscles to overcome the strain you put on them during the workout, which in turn helps to prevent muscle injury – and a protein packed smoothie is ideal for this.
When you exercise, your muscles break down protein, which is the catabolic phase of exercise. Following exercise, in the period known as the anabolic phase, your muscles need protein to rebuild and repair themselves as they lose lots of protein during exercise. Without protein, when you finish exercising, your muscles could become stiff and sore as they are unable to repair themselves properly.
You can also try this yummy post workout recipe, filled with protein and carbohydrates.

Hummus & Pitta Chips


  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. tamari paste
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 pitta bread
  • Cooking spray
  • Pinch each salt, pepper and paprika

Method of Preparation

  1. Whiz chickpeas, garlic cloves, lemon juice, tamari and water in a blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add more garlic and lemon juice if desired.
  2. Chop the pitta into triangles. Spritz with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika and bake in a 200C oven until crisp.

Recipe serves 2. Calories per serving: 219.
Check out our 28 Day Breastfeeding Friendly Diet & Exercise Plan here

Get Our Exercise DVD

And for the ULTIMATE SAFE, EFFECTIVE & TRUSTED Post Pregnancy Workout – see our EXPERT Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD below – you can purchase and see more information on it here
The DVD can be followed by all mums (for example new mums or mums with older children) and can be followed by someone with a basic or a more advanced level of fitness.
Lisa Westlake is our incredible fitness instructor and postnatal exercise specialist throughout the DVD. With her extensive physiotherapy experience and qualifications (Lisa is one of the most awarded fitness professionals in Australia), Lisa is the perfect fitness instructor to bring The Healthy Mummy Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD to life – you will love working out with her. (You can see our Q&A with Lisa with commonly asked questions on the DVD here)
The exercises in The Healthy Mummy Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD are effective and safe and Lisa will guide you through each of the workouts. As well as assisting in the improvement of your overall fitness levels, the workouts in the DVD will also help in the burning of calories, the improvement of your core strength and the strengthening of your pelvic floor.
The six workouts are broken down into 10 and 15 minute sections that you can do when it suits you – or if you have the time and energy you can do the DVD as one 70 minute continuous workout. The Healthy Mummy Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD also covers special considerations post-birth, such as caesarean sections, back strains, muscle separation, incontinence and pelvic floor issues.
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