You work out like a fiend but can’t dislodge the kilos even though you are exhausted at the end of every session? If yes, you may be a victim of snack sabotage. Eat right before and after, and you can get a lot more from your workout.

200 Calories

Experts believe that these snacks should contain approximately 200 calories, with carbs being higher for the pre-workout snack and protein higher for the post-workout munchie.

Food is fuel; it’s as simple as that. We attach all kinds of shame and guilt to the process of eating but at the end of the day, you’re not going to get very far without regular re-fuelling. Whether you’re in a yoga class for beginners or training for a marathon, you need to snack right for the best results. As you make a mad dash for your workout, don’t grab food that’s handy. We know biscuits are convenient, but they contain simple sugars that will spike and then crash energy levels down. “Biscuits and other snacks that are perceived to be healthy tend to have a yo-yo effect,” says fitness expert Leena Mogre. “First, you get a surge of energy and after the effect goes away, you’re tempted for a second helping. So it’s best to stick to complex carbs as pre-and post-workout snacks.” Here’s a handy guide and menu to help you make the most from your workout.

Fuel up before heading out

A pre-workout meal is crucial, especially if you’re just getting started with a fitness routine. According to Leena, this should be eaten 15 to 20 minutes before a workout. “Never work out with an empty stomach because your muscles will break down to give you energy. A pre-workout meal should consist of complex carbs like bananas and potatoes, since complex carbs produce energy over time.”

If you want to depend only on your regular three meals and no snacking in between, it is best to eat at least two hours before the workout to allow time for digestion. Pre-workout snacks should give you energy which will come from a combination of carbs and proteins. Having a munchie before a workout also helps to burn fat faster and speeds up the recovery of muscles.

Pre-workout snacks

Low-intensity workouts
Eggs and toast:
Hard-boil one or two eggs and eat with one slice of whole-wheat toast.

Oatmeal upma: Chip carrots, onion and beans, and slit green chilies. Heat oil in a pan, temper with curry leaves, mustard, urad and chana dal. Then add onions and sauté. Add vegetables, green chilies and peas. Put in one cup oats and salt, and mix. Add half cup water and cook covered for two minutes. Then sprinkle more water and cook covered for another two minutes.

Medium-intensity workouts

Oats with fresh fruits: Cook oats and mix with honey and chopped, fresh fruits.
Omelette: Load a fluffy omelette with fresh vegetables. Don’t just use egg whites; always make it a point to add at least one yolk for optimum nutrition.

High-intensity workouts

Pasta: A bowl of whole wheat pasta with vegetables or chicken sausage is a good option.
Yoghurt with fruits: Drizzle yoghurt on a big bowl of freshly chopped fruits and honey. You could also add some hemp protein powder for more benefits.

Repair the burn

After the workout, your muscles undergo extensive wear and tear. Fitness expert Deanne Panday says, “You must eat within an hour of your workout. You need good quality protein to replenish the energy you have spent.”

Glycogen is stored primarily in your muscles and is the main source of fuel. It takes about a day to replenish your body’s glycogen levels. If proteins, healthy and natural fats and good carbohydrates, like vegetables and fruits, are a part of your daily diet, you will have plenty of glycogen stored for your body to use as a fuel.

Post-workout snacks

Low-intensity workouts
Toss up a salad with fresh, seasonal vegetables and olive oil or any low-fat dressing. Add sunflower seeds for Omega 3 fatty acids.

Apple with peanut butter: Cut slices of apple and coat them with organic peanut butter.

Medium-intensity workouts

Quinoa with tofu: Mix cooked quinoa with vegetables like bell peppers, garlic, cucumber, tofu, tomatoes and parsley for a satisfying, one-bowl meal.

Sweet potato mash: Mash boiled sweet potatoes in a blender and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

High-intensity workouts

Chicken: Eat it grilled with vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes and potatoes.

Fish: Tuna or any other seasonal fish is good. Steam or grill and pair it with some salad.

Jacket potatoes: Heat oven to 220°C. Rub a little oil over potatoes and put in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn down the heat to 190°C and bake for 45 minutes. Top with low-fat sour cream and spring onions.