What's the Best Food When Going to the Gym?

Food is the basic energy source that the body uses to perform exercise. So, we'll tell you how to choose the right food when going to the gym.
What's the Best Food When Going to the Gym?
Eliana Delgado Villanueva

Written and verified by the nutritionist Eliana Delgado Villanueva.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

If you go to the gym, it’s because you’ve decided to lead a healthy lifestyle. Your diet is probably low in both fat and sugar. But many times, when it comes to exercise, we don’t know what we should be eating. That’s why, in this article, we’ll you what the best food is for going to the gym.

If you’re an active person, taking care of your diet can help you increase performance, define your muscles, or lose weight. In addition, eating enough nutrients, antioxidants, and calories so as not to become weary when exercising is the key.

The best food when going to the gym

It’s one of the most frequent questions that we all have when we go to practice some type of physical activity. Since food is the basic energy that our body will use to perform exercises, we’ll now analyze which foods are the most appropriate.

What to eat before going to the gym?

A bowl of cereal and yogurt.
The diet before the gym should ensure a good supply of nutrients and energy to maintain the training.

Before any sort of fitness class or using gym equipment, we need to be careful about what we eat and avoid binging.

Small amounts of food are perfect, but they should contain the necessary vitamins to nourish us. For example, nuts, which have healthy fats according to current studies. And also oatmeal with milk, yogurt, or a portion of fruit, such as a banana.

Another good option is a yogurt parfait, which contains yogurt, nuts, and seeds. For example, chia, which contains omega 3 and proteins. When it comes to the right drink, you should hydrate yourself with water. It’s good to drink about half a liter of water before starting to train, but don’t overdo it.

Before going to the gym it’s best to avoid foods that are rich in fat or sugar. This reduces the risk of suffering gastric discomfort that makes exercise difficult.

You may want to read: Improve Your General Health With These Exercises

What to eat next?

The best food when going to the gym
After physical exercise, it’s important to replenish yourself with a good supply of protein, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

Once you’ve finished training, you need to hydrate quickly and eat slowly. You can start with fruit and nuts, and then prepare a more complete meal that includes, for example, fish, rice salad, pasta with seeds and tomatoes, dairy products, meat, eggs, protein shakes, etc.

Proteins are essential nutrients to promote tissue recovery. According to research published in the journal Nutrients, these substances improve muscle adaptations to exercise.

In addition, it’s important to ensure the consumption of healthy fats. Some of them, such as those in the omega 3 series, have proven to be effective in modulating the inflammation that’s typical of intense workout sessions. At the same time, you need to restrict your intake of trans-lipids. That’s because these nutrients have the opposite effect, promoting inflammation.

You’re sure to become thirsty, so water will be your best option against dehydration. Of course, there are different isotonic drinks available as well. These can help us replenish after intense physical activity, but it’s important not to abuse these drinks.

Before you go, you may want to read: 6 Tips to Follow if You Want to Get Fit

Frequent errors regarding food when going to the gym

Many people make some common mistakes in their diet when entering the world of fitness and healthy living. Here are a few that you should try to avoid.

  • Not increasing your intake: If you start exercising daily, you must ingest more calories than before, even if you want to lose weight.
  • Falling into the trap of “light” foods: When you shop at the supermarket, pay attention to food labels. Many of them appear to be “healthy”, when in fact they contain large amounts of sugar.
  • Lack of patience: If you think you’ll start seeing results the first week and don’t, you may feel like giving. However, it’s important to be patient and persist.
  • Think that all you need is dietary supplements: Ergogenic aids can increase performance and our ability to recover. However, we should only take them within the context of a healthy diet. Otherwise, we won’t experience the benefits.

Optimize your diet to go to the gym

Don’t fall into the mistakes that beginners often make when they start going to the gym. Rather, eating correctly before and after going to the gym is the only way to progress in the shortest time possible. Finally, if you have more doubts about the best food when going to the gym, we suggest seeing a nutritionist. This professional will be able to prepare a menu to suit you.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gorzynik Debicka M., Przychodzen P., Cappello F., Kuban Jankowska A., et al., Potential health benefits of olive oil and plant polyphenols. Int J Mol Sci, 2018.
  • Davies RW., Carson BP., Jakeman PM., The effect of whey protein supplementation on the temporal recovery of muscle function following resistance training: a systematic review and meta anlysis. Nutrients, 2018.
  • Calder PC., Omega 3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochem Soc Trans, 2017. 45 (5): 1105-1115.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.