What you eat before and after exercise can have a huge impact on your body. When you eat is also crucial to ensure you get the most out of your workout.

Fuelling your body with nutrient-packed food before and after exercise will provide you with the energy you need to help your body perform more effectively, improve recovery and reduce the potential for injury. Achieving the right balance of healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein are important to help you sustain energy levels and to avoid feeling fatigued when working out.

How does exercise affect your body?

During exercise, your muscles use glucose from carbohydrates for fuel.

Glycogen is the way that your body stores glucose. During short and high-intensity workouts, your muscles use your glycogen stores for energy. But these stores are limited. As soon as these stores diminish, your physical performance is affected.

Eating carbohydrates before exercise can increase your body’s glycogen stores and improve utilisation.

Likewise, including protein in your pre-workout meal can improve muscle performance, helping to build and maintain lean body mass, and aid in muscle recovery.

While carbohydrates help your body make the most of glycogen stores for shorter high-intensity exercise, eating fat can fuel your body for longer and lower intensity workouts.

The timing of your meal matters

Not only is what you eat crucial for making the most of your workout but when you eat also has an impact.

If you want to achieve the best results during exercise, you should aim to eat a nutritious meal containing carbohydrates, protein and fat about 2-3 hours before your workout. However, this may not always be convenient. If you eat less than an hour before exercising, it is advisable to choose foods that are easy for your body to digest, choosing mainly carbohydrates with some protein. Foods that are high in fat (like avocados) take a long time for the body to digest. Eating these types of foods soon before starting your workout can lead to stomach discomfort.

Timing is also crucial for replenishing your energy levels and restoring your body post-workout. During exercise, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel leaving your muscles partially depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in your muscles can also break down and become damaged.

Eating the right nutrients after exercise will give your body the tools to help your body to recover, rebuild its glycogen stores and repair muscle proteins faster. Carbohydrates replenish the muscle fuel that was used during your workout, while protein helps to repair damaged muscle tissue, not only enhancing recovery but also helping your body stimulate the growth of new muscle.

After exercise, your body has the ability to rebuild its glycogen stores and protein more effectively. To achieve this, you need to consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein after exercising. It is recommended to eat your post-workout meal within 45 minutes.

Fuel up with plant protein

For sustaining fuel to maximise your workout or to provide fatigue fighting ammunition post-workout, try adding chlorella to smashed avocado on toast, highly nutritious, delicious and simple to prepare.

Chlorella is a single-celled, green freshwater algae packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This nutrient-rich algae contains 50–60% protein. On top of that, chlorella is a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids required to build lean muscle and repair muscle tissue in the body.

Adding chlorella to your avocado toast will provide you with plant protein which contributes to muscle performance during exercise, the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, and improved muscle recovery post-exercise.

Intensely rich in iron and vitamin B12, chlorella supports energy production and can also contribute to reducing tiredness & fatigue, perfect for an energy boost after an intense workout!

Since timing is crucial, if enjoying before a workout, aim to eat your chlorella mashed avocado on toast about 2 hours before exercise. This will give your body time to digest the fats in the avocado and help to avoid any stomach discomfort.

For further ways to include chlorella in your diet, add to smoothies, mix into energy balls and bars, or mix with your favourite juice for a quick & healthy shot.