• PALM Centre

Complementing foods with physical activity

Being physically active is important to achieving better health. Having the right kinds of nutrients pre and post workout gives your body the potential to perform better and recover better. In this post, we share about the types of foods best for your workout regimen, and the types that just spoil your efforts.


Glucose is the main source of fuel for your muscles during your workout. It is stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen. During short and high intensity workouts, glycogen will be your muscles’ main source of energy. As these stores get depleted, your workout output and intensity will diminish. That's why it is important to have good nutrition to sustain quality workouts.

Proteins improve athletic performance, increase muscle protein synthesis, helps improve muscle recovery, increase strength and lean body mass, and increase muscle performance.

Fats serve as a source of energy for long moderate to low intensity workouts.

What to eat, how much to eat, when to eat?

Eating the right ratio of good carbohydrates and protein plays an important role. Pre-workout meals are suitable for moderate-high intensity workouts. Here are several rules for you to follow to achieve maximum results:

  1. Have complete meals consisting of carbohydrates, protein and good fats 2-3 hours before your workout

  2. The nearer your meal time to workout, the simpler and smaller the meal should be

  3. If you are doing low intensity activities like leisure walking, you don’t really require any pre-workout meals

Examples of pre-workout meals

Starting within 2-3 hrs or more (regular meal):

  • ½ - 1 bowl brown rice + stir fried vegetables + lean protein

  • Whole Grain grilled chicken sandwich + side salad or grilled vegetables

  • Egg omelette with avocado spread on toast

Starting within 2 hrs

  • 1 cup warm oats + almonds

  • 1 slice toast + milk

  • Protein smoothie with milk or water + berries

Starting within an hr

  • Greek yoghurt + fruit

  • 1 banana

Important note: Choose only 1 of the above to consume according to the timeframe. Consult a Health coach if unsure.


Eating after your workout is equally important. You will not want to spoil your workout efforts with the wrong kinds of post workout meal choices. During a workout, your glycogen stores get depleted and some proteins in your muscles get damaged. So after workouts, your body will try to repair these muscles and rebuild the glycogen stores. Eating correctly will help you decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle synthesis, restore glycogen stores and enhance recovery. Having your meal within the hour would do you good.

These macronutrients are necessary for post workout recovery:


  • Provides amino acids to repair and rebuild muscle

  • 20-40g protein seem to maximise recovery ability according to studies


  • Replenishes glycogen stores

  • Consuming together with proteins maximize glycogen and protein re-synthesis

  • The amount of carbohydrates to consume depends on the kind of sport you do. Example endurance sports requires more carbohydrate intake.

  • Start by trying with a carbohydrate protein ratio of 3:1.


Little fat intake is ok for your post workout meal. As fats will slow down the absorption of your post workout meal, avoid consuming high fat foods like mee goreng or laksa.

Examples of post workout meals

Consuming easily digestible foods would benefit nutrient absorption and prevent tummy discomfort. Below is a list of food items for you to mix and match:

Important note:

Try to choose 1 from each category for your meal. Consult a Health coach if unsure.

In our next post, we take the focus away from diseases, instead we will talk about the amazing people who care for the diseased. Care givers stress is so real and managing it takes effort.

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