Tips for optimal nutrition before and after training

An important prerequisite for a quality training session is to eat adequately in the hours before exercise. Energy and fluid reserves must be replenished but not overloaded, and digestive problems should be avoided. This is all the more important the longer and more intense the training session. In this post we give advice on what to eat before and after training.

Before training

Whether in triathlon, cycling or running training – if the digestive tract is in full swing, it ties up a lot of energy that cannot be used for sporting activity. Meals should therefore be smaller and lighter the closer to the training session they are eaten.


3 hours before training is a good time to have a last light meal with simple carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, potatoes or rice), proteins and little fat. This eases digestion and prevents an uncomfortable feeling in the stomach during training. So for once, it is okay to eat processed foods as they are often more easily digested.


If you only manage to eat something just before training, then you should definitely make sure that you opt for a very light meal/snack. The following foods are suitable:

  • Low-fat sandwich with white bread
  • Banana
  • Smoothie / carbohydrate shake
  • Sports bar

In addition to solid food, fluid intake is also an essential factor. Keep in mind that the body can only absorb about 2dl of fluid per 15 minutes. So don’t drink too much at once, but spread out the amount you plan on drinking over a longer period of time.

After training

The more you train, the more important it is to refill your empty energy tank after training. If the amount of training is up to 5 hours per week with mainly light intensity, this can be managed well with the help of a generally balanced diet. If you put your body through a greater training load, you should also increase the focus on nutrition.


Directly after training, the energy requirement is very high and the used energy reserves should be replenished as quickly as possible. In addition to the consumption of energy, athletic exertion also leads to small stress and inflammatory reactions in the body, which can be counteracted with carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are therefore more than just a source of energy.


To support the repair processes and muscle building, it is important to consume not only carbohydrates but also proteins after training. As this process can last up to 24 hours after training, it is not sufficient to consume protein only immediately after training. Consuming about 20 to 25 grams of animal protein or 30 to 40 grams of vegetable protein at each meal is recommended.


A combination of carbohydrates and proteins can also be consumed in the form of a shake immediately after training, thus killing three birds with one stone (carbohydrates, proteins and fluid).

In terms of fluid intake, it is recommended to consume an additional five to eight decilitres per hour of training. However, the exact requirement varies from individual to individual. In addition to fluid loss, the body also loses salt through sweat. One way to make up for this is to consume salty snacks or meals.