Whether the goal is to lose fat, gain muscle, or build strength, you must understand that what you put in your mouth pre/post-workout has the power to speed up or slow down your progress.

Pre or Post-Workout Nutrition: Which is More Important?

The length and the quality of our training sessions are highly dependent on our pre-workout nutrition and supplementation. To ensure optimum performance, we must fuel our bodies with the right foods for energy, and choose the appropriate supplements for enhanced athletic performance.

Post-workout nutrition and supplementation is just as crucial as pre-workout nutrition and supplementation. During training, the body is in a catabolic state, which is the state of breaking down larger molecules into smaller ones. This could mean the breaking down of glycogen into glucose, proteins into amino acids, or fats into fatty acids. Post-workout nutrition and supplementation helps the body regain energy, recover, and grow bigger and stronger by restoring what was catabolized during the workout, plus more.

Everyone is unique and performs better on different foods and supplements, but below are some widely recommended options that would suit almost everyone:

What to Eat: Before the Workout

Complex carbohydrates are the preferred carbohydrate source for pre-workout nutrition since it provides a steady stream of energy as compared to the quick burst and subsequent crash that would normally accompany simply carbohydrates.

Pre-Workout Supplementation

Those who need a boost of energy may want to purchase a pre-workout supplement. Many pre-workouts are stimulant-based to give you a surge of energy, which can help with muscle endurance, focus, mood, energy and muscle pumps. There are also non-stimulant pre-workouts for those sensitive to stimulants but would still benefit from the mood-enhancing effects of pre-workouts.

Post-Workout Nutrition

In contrast with pre-workout nutrition, simple carbohydrates are the preferred choice for post-workout to replenish glycogen stores as quickly as possible and to jumpstart the recovery process. Simple carbohydrates can be identified as foods that are low in dietary fiber and score high on the glycemic index.

Post-Workout Supplementation

The most commonly used post-workout supplement is whey protein. It's also the most versatile, as it can be suited for muscle-building and fat loss purposes. It is quick absorbing since it is taken in liquid form.


Dehydration can affect physical and mental performance. It increases heart rate and body temperature, as well as perceived exertion. According to studies, loss of fluid equal to 2% of body mass is enough to cause a dip in performance. Fluid loss greater than 2% puts the individual at risk of diarrhea, gastro-intestinal problems, nausea and vomiting.