Fuel Your Body with Diet Before and After Gym Session

Reviewed by: | Author: Manoja Kalakanti

The human body is a wonder machine working day in and day out without any error but with substantial downtime for recharging. Like any other artificial machine, the human body runs effortlessly on fuel fed into its system. The fuel is the food that we intake essential for its errorless operation. Proper nutrition and adequate water intake keep it properly functioning and hydrated – whether you are working out to ensure its flexibility and agility or simply resting. When gyming, the body leverages the energy derived from the food intake before working out. The same energy source is fully consumed during intensive physical exercise, leaving the body empty of fuel. Hence, eating before and after the gym is mandatory. But substituting nutrition with junk fat and oily food will do more damage to the body than good. Instead, an adequate gym diet plan will supply the body with the necessary vitamins and other nutrients to keep going, regardless of how intensive the workout might be.
Proven gym diet plans for weight loss strictly follow the 80/20 rule: 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. This, however, depends on your age, gender, physical structure, and the overall body’s anatomy. The diet plan will alter for young athletes, again depending on their gender.
For example, teenagers need plenty of carbs and protein in their diet, which is preferably low in fat. Contrarily, young adults need a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, no-fat or low-fat milk products, beans, eggs, fish, nuts, and lean meats.
A gym diet plan works best when it is adequately supplemented with food and fluid consumed before, during, and after exercise. This routine helps preserve the required blood glucose concentration levels during exercise, maximizing its effectiveness and improving recovery time. Athletes and gym trainers should stay hydrated before workouts, during, and after to balance fluid losses.

The Role of a Diet Plan and Exercise for Losing Weight

Exercise always seems like the best go-to option for losing weight or gaining a few extra pounds. But physical activities can work so much, but without the essential nutrient supplements, the results would be below your expectations. Exercise and a proper diet plan for gym work hand-in-hand for the body’s optimal performance.
The human body’s primary fuel sources are body fat and carbohydrates. A majority of gym diet plans designed for pre-exercise are rich in carbs. Before workout sessions, the intake of carbs and nutrients in the required quantity supplies the body with the necessary fuel, elevating energy levels, promoting endurance during rigorous training, and enhancing performance. Your body draws energy from the food and converts it into helpful fuel, powering your muscles’ strength and improving performance, especially for long-duration workouts.
However, the experts’ opinions are contradictory between fasting exercise and non-fasting exercise. Some studies say that fasting exercise speeds up weight loss because physical activity consumes energy stored in your body as fat when carb supplements are missing in an empty stomach. However, there is little to no evidence confirming the above statement.
However, athletes are known to eat a high-carb meal three to four hours before exercise for endurance. Therefore, eating a carb-heavy meal three to four hours or one hour before exercising is strongly recommended.
That being said, people still work out on an empty stomach since the opinions vary. But experts agree on one thing – mandatory eating post-workout. A perfect diet plan for gym taken post-exercise should include nutrients, proteins, and carbs, helping your body to recover and adapt easily.

Exploring the Treble Cycle of Eating and Exercising

When to eat or what to eat is a baffling question for many gymgoers. Many others have yet to witness the expected results even after working out rigorously and following a strict diet plan. The reason could be the absence of sufficient body fuel and healthy nutrients. A comprehensive diet plan for muscle gain or weight loss, as suggested by an expert dietician, can drive expectant outcomes only if the triple cycle of eating and exercising is well-maintained. There are substantial benefits to the mentioned routine; let’s explore!
The Importance of Eating Before Workout
Do machines run without fuel? The answer is a Big No! Likewise, the human body acting like a machine requires a steady supply of power. Food, as the body’s essential fuel supply, boosts its energy to maximize your workout, endure the hard work, and increase its ability to burn calories.
As per expert trainers, ideally, fueling up the body two hours prior to working out generates higher results.

Here are a few tips to get you going:
• Keep the body hydrated with water
• Eat healthy carbohydrates, like whole-grain cereals with low-fat or skim milk, whole-wheat toast, fat-free yogurt, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, fruits and vegetables
• Avoid saturated fats and healthy protein
Kindly note that healthy protein food like chicken or red meat digests slower and can make your stomach feel full and heavy. Your body will get less energy to complete the sessions, and the chances of feeling sick or nauseous are high.
Also, if you have 5-10 minutes before exercise, a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana may suffice your body’s energy supplement.
Snacking between Workouts
If the one-hour or less workout session is light, there’s no need to eat in between. However, for stretchy hours of intense workouts similar to what professional athletes do, a few minutes of healthy snack time is required. But the diet plan should leave your stomach intact. Instead, it should supply your body with additional carbohydrates needed for the remaining session. Experts recommend eating 50-100 calories every half hour, such as low-fat yogurt, raisins, or bananas could do the job.
The Significance of Post-Workout Eating
After the workout, refueling the body with lost energy supplements is strongly recommended. The more you sweat, the more nutrients and fluids you lose. This means your morning gym diet plan should provide essential elements and fluids to maintain balance and keep the body functioning properly.
• Fluids: Keeping the body hydrated is essential. So, drink sufficient water or blend it with 100% natural juice, like orange juice, which is a strong source of essential fluids and carbohydrates.
• Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are deemed a primary fuel source of your body. Hence, they should be adequately replenished, enabling the muscles to stock carbohydrates and protein as energy for complete recovery.
• Protein: Your body needs to recharge after an intensive session. So, opt for food rich in protein to help repair and grow your muscles.

A Complete Diet Plan for Beginners – Important Points to Consider

A gym diet plan should be a dietician’s recommendation. But for beginners, there are a few dos and don’ts to follow when opting for a complete routine of physical exercise and balanced eating – Food you should eat and items you should avoid witnessing optimum results.
Food to Eat – Before and After Workouts
Before work-out, your diet plan should include the following food and supplements:
1. Banana and peanut butter on whole-grain toast
2. Greek yogurt with berries and granola
3. Oatmeal with almond milk and fruit
4. Grilled chicken with sweet potato and vegetables
5. Healthy supplements comprising a mix of caffeine, amino acids, and other nutrients
An ideal post-workout meal can be sweet and savory to the taste. Here are a few delicious options to choose from:
1. Grilled chicken or fish with quinoa and vegetables
2. A protein shake made with protein powder, almond milk, and fruit
3. Scrambled eggs with spinach and whole-grain toast
4. Greek yogurt with nuts and fruit
5. Protein powder supplements
Food to Avoid – Before and After Workouts
As stated earlier, high-protein meals should be avoided before exercise. However, a vegetarian gym diet plan is always the best option to try, especially post-workout sessions. Plant-based foods are rich in essential nutrient supplements but are low in carbs and fatty acids. For animal protein supplements, milk, yogurt, and eggs are healthy options. That being said, our bodies do require a few cheat days to appease the taste buds. Even dieticians might suggest – cutting some slack and indulging in your favorite meal once in a while. But even your luxurious indulgence shouldn’t include processed foods and sugary snacks.
Processed food and sugary snacks are unhealthy, whether consumed before workouts or after. They give your body a sudden energy rush, eventually causing sluggishness. Additionally, these food items enable bad fat to accumulate in the body, preventing your body from losing weight or gaining healthy kilos.

Should You Eat Before Exercise?

As mentioned before, athletes and others involved in high-intensity, rigorous physical training should not fast before workouts. They need a complete and balanced diet plan for weight gain. But if you are working out lightly for a few minutes to lose weight, a glass of water might suffice.
If the intensity level for the workouts is moderate, then opt for a healthy snack comprising a banana, egg, or a glass of milk. A 10-15-minute window time before sessions could be filled by a balanced meal of digestible carbohydrates, like fruit juice, a small banana, a handful of grapes, or a handful of dry cereal. Such a diet plan for weight loss can supply more energy than you can imagine. It also helps the muscles and the whole body to relax and be stress-free post-workout.
On the other hand, those who feel the heavy rush of hunger pangs earlier in the morning should consider feeding their body with a healthy snack 10-15 minutes prior to exercising.
For an hour-long physical workout session, a proper diet plan for weight loss should primarily comprise easy-to-digest carbs. But with a window time of approximately 30 minutes, a complete breakfast is needed.
Your 200-calorie breakfast should include either or some of the below-mentioned items:
1. Half an English muffin
2. A tablespoon of peanut butter
3. A few bananas slices
4. An apple
5. A tablespoon of almond butter
6. Half cup of plain yogurt
7. Small handful of granolas


A healthy gym diet plan should supply your body with the necessary nutrients, vitamins, proteins, and helpful carbohydrates in the required quantities. When adequate workout sessions complement a balanced meal, the results could blow your mind. However, a diet chart for weight gain should be different from the one designed for weight loss. Also, a gym diet plan for weight loss for females should vary from the male counterparts. Therefore, the best health advice would be not to choose any random diet plan yourself. Ideally, a health consultant or an experienced dietician can provide you with an accurate chart depending on your body’s specific requirements.


Q1. Which is the best for diet gym beginners?

Ans. A balanced nutritional meal of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats

Q2. How much of paneer per day for muscle gain?

Ans. Approximately 100 grams of paneer every day is acceptable.

Q3. What should I eat to gain weight?

Ans. The following food items help gain healthy weight:
1. Milk
2. Eggs
3. Cheese
4. Rice
5. Banana
6. Nuts
7. Read Meat

Q4. Do healthy fats make you gain weight?

Ans. Unsaturated fats have no connection to weight gain, but saturated and trans-fat in the diet do help gain weight.

Q5. What diet is best for the gym?

Ans. A balanced diet comprising lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and fibers is ideal for the gym.

Q6. Is going to the gym is good for weight loss?

Ans. Yes. It is a good option, but it depends on individual preferences.

Q7. Best home workout plan for weight loss for women?

Ans. The best home workout plan for weight loss for women would be:
1. 10-12 minutes of walking daily
2. Doing basic household chores
3. Gardening
4. Soleus push-ups for muscle strength and endurance
5. Chair squats

Q8. Best workout plan for belly fat?

Ans. Some of the workouts mentioned below are the best exercises for reducing belly fat:
1. Half crunches
2. High knees
3. Russian twists
4. Sidekicks
5. Standard planks
6. Straight arm planks
7. V-ups

Q9. How much food should I eat before exercise?

Ans. Here’s a proper plan on how much we should eat before a workout:
1. Up to 1,000 nutritious calories 2-4 hours before an activity
2. Only 300-400 calories if the window time is less than 2 hours
3. Stick to drinks/smoothies if you have less than 60 minutes.

Q10. What is the importance of hydration during exercise?

Ans. Hydration reduces the risk of heat stress while maintaining normal body function and performance levels.


Download App

Get our wellness newsletter

Health and Diet tips, Fitness,
Beauty and more.