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Why Nutrition and The Timing of Nutrition Are Important

November 28, 2023

Why Nutrition and The Timing of Nutrition Are Important

It is a well established fact that nutrition plays a key role in helping you achieve your fitness goals when you are using a workout routine. People who are fit and healthy don’t accomplish that by eating junk food then trying to compensate by doing a workout to burn off the calories. Today we’ll be looking into why being mindful of your nutrition is so important for your body, as well as how the timing of your nutrition consumption before and after a workout can benefit you. 

Let’s start by explaining why nutrition is so crucial in exercise and fitness routines. There are several reasons. The first is because it is the fuel for your energy supply. Your body needs fuel to perform exercises, and this fuel comes from the food you eat. Carbohydrates are a primary energy source, especially for high-intensity workouts, while fats are used more during longer, lower-intensity sessions. 

Another function nutrition plays in workouts is by facilitating muscle growth and repair.  Protein is essential to both repairing your muscles, as well as helping them grow. After a workout, your muscles need protein to heal micro-tears caused by intense physical activity. This repair process helps in muscle strengthening and growth.

Good nutrition is vital to your overall health and performance as well. This is because a balanced diet ensures that you get all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs. These nutrients are vital for various bodily functions, including metabolism, bone health, and immune function, all of which affect your fitness and ability to exercise effectively.

Nutrition also helps you with weight management. The proper nutrition helps in managing your body’s weight. A combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise is the most effective way to lose, gain, or maintain weight, depending on your fitness goals.  

The recovery process is also affected by your body’s nutrition. This is because adequate nutrition aids in quicker recovery post-workout. Nutrients like protein and certain vitamins and minerals help in reducing muscle soreness and replenishing energy stores, allowing for more effective and frequent training sessions.

There is also the importance of the hydration your body receives from nutrients. Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining performance during exercise. Water is necessary for various bodily functions, including temperature regulation and joint lubrication.

To summarize, the right balance of nutrients is essential for providing energy, supporting muscle repair and growth, ensuring overall health, managing weight, aiding in recovery, and maintaining hydration. This balance enhances both the effectiveness and safety of your workout regimen.

Now let’s discuss the importance of timing your nutrition around your workouts, since it is important in order to optimize your exercise performance and recovery. Here's a general guideline on what and when to eat before and after a workout:

Before a Workout

  • Timing: Aim to eat a meal 2-3 hours before your workout. If you're eating a smaller snack, 30 minutes to an hour before exercising is usually sufficient.

  • What to Eat:
    • Carbohydrates: They provide quick energy. Choose complex carbs for longer-lasting energy if eating a meal, or simple carbs for a quick energy boost if you're closer to your workout time.
    • Proteins: Include a moderate amount of protein in your pre-workout meal or snack. This can help start muscle repair and recovery early.
    • Fats: If eating several hours before exercise, include some healthy fats for sustained energy, but avoid high-fat foods right before a workout as they digest slowly and might cause discomfort.

After a Workout

  • Timing: The ideal time to eat after a workout is within 45 minutes to an hour, but the window for effective nutrient absorption can extend up to two hours post-exercise.

  • What to Eat:

    • Protein: Essential for muscle repair and growth. Aim for 15-25 grams of high-quality protein after a workout.
    • Carbohydrates: They replenish the muscle glycogen (energy) used during your workout. The amount depends on the exercise intensity and duration.
    • Fluids and Electrolytes: Replace what was lost through sweat, especially after intense or long-duration exercise.


  • Before: Drink water before your workout to ensure you’re starting well-hydrated.
  • During: Hydrate as necessary, especially during long or intense sessions.
  • After: Rehydrate to replace fluid losses from sweating.

Individual Needs

It's important to remember that these are general guidelines and individual needs can vary based on factors like the type of exercise, duration, intensity, and personal metabolic rate. It's often beneficial to experiment with different foods and timings to find what works best for you. If you have any general questions about nutrition and hydration, please don’t hesitate to discuss with your Level One trainer. Otherwise, we advise that you consult with a professional sports nutritionist so that they can provide more personalized advice based on your specific health, fitness and activity levels.

Importance of Nutrition and Timing of Nutrition in Fitness

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