These guidelines are great for the average gym goer or weekend warrior. More specific guidelines are in place for athletes or more strenuous activities, and will vary from below.
Aim to have a meal 1-3 hours before your workout. This timing can vary depending on how much food you can tolerate before working out.
A good guideline is to have some protein and carbs for your pre-workout meal or snack. Avoid complex carbohydrates that contain a lot of fiber, and opt for simple carbohydrates such as banana, apples, cream of rice, instant plain oatmeal. These will supply your body quick energy. Include a source of protein with your carbohydrates such as peanut butter and banana, instant rice or oats with a scoop of protein powder, or a handful of nuts with dried fruit.
If you workout first thing in the morning, you don’t have to eat a big meal beforehand. If your workout is less than an hour long, a snack or meal is not needed. However, morning workouts longer than 2 hours will need some fuel beforehand to prevent muscle loss.
Your body is at its prime to absorb nutrients, so it is important to refuel your body with protein and carbs. Try to not go more than 2-3 hours post workout without eating something. Carbs help replenish your glycogen tank, while protein helps build and repair muscle tissue. A post-workout shake with protein powder, fruit, and non-dairy milk is a great choice. One of your main meals on you meal plan will also suffice as a great post-workout meal.