How 9 PTs Fuel A Workout

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Fuel your body the right way and you will maximise the benefits of any workout. From protein to carbs, we went to nine leading trainers to find out what they eat…
Photography ISTOCK/ MINISERIES

Charlie Peters

PT & boxing coach

“I’m currently training for my first half Ironman (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21km run), so nutrition revolves around carbs and protein with some fats thrown in. My training sessions tend to be in the middle of the day, so I need to make sure I’m fuelled first thing. Breakfast is porridge with almond milk and either honey or a spoonful of Nutella, followed by a protein shake made with a banana and oat milk. I’m currently using a meal prep company to ensure I’m on top of my nutrition – they deliver four meals totalling 2,000 calories. Mid-morning, I have a rice or potato dish with chicken and vegetables, and post-training another 500-calorie meal as well a 500-calorie protein shake. Dinner is carb-heavy – pasta with sausage and asparagus is a current favourite.”  

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Craig Fletcher

PT at Bodyism

“I choose natural wholefoods to fuel my workouts, opting for nutrient-dense carbs over volume. Also keep in mind the type of workout you’re doing – a three-hour bike ride will require more carbs than a heavy weights session, which will require more protein for muscle repair. I eat at least two hours before training, choosing foods that are easy to digest and made up of slow-releasing carbs with a small amount of easy-to-digest protein. Examples include soaked oats with quinoa, cinnamon, banana and peanut butter or sweet potato with avocado and feta. If I’m short on time, I’ll make a protein shake with Bodyism Optimum Performance, banana, berries, oats and almond butter, or rice crackers with avocado. Listen to your body when you exercise – if you lose energy during a session, if your focus drifts, or if you need more rest between sets, your nutrition could probably be improved.”

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James Dollah

Head Coach At Puresport Fitness Club

“I train first thing in the morning and prefer to do so on an empty stomach, meaning what I have for dinner the night before matters. A balanced meal with protein, vegetables and plenty of carbs ensures glycogen levels are topped up for the morning. Half an hour before working out, I’ll have a Nocco drink as well as a caffeine-free pre-workout supplement containing electrolytes and beta alanine. If I’m training later in the day, I’ll eat a carb-rich snack 30 minutes before exercising – you can’t beat a cinnamon and raisin bagel with jam. Post-workout, I wait 20-90 minutes before eating – my thought process being that exercise triggers your sympathetic nervous system, which isn’t an optimal state to be digesting food in. My post-training meals always contain at least 30g of protein and simple carbs to kickstart the recovery process.” 

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Matteo Massaini

trainer at A Body Forever

“My go-to pre-workout snack is a slice of rye bread with peanut butter and fruit. Nut butter in any form is the perfect way to get in healthy fats and protein. If I’m on the go, I’ll pick up a Barebells protein bar with a piece of fruit. After the gym, I always take the time to make a balanced meal – chicken cacciatore with brown rice and salad is my favourite and it’s a great one to make in bulk. If I’m pushed for time, I’ll make a shake with Type+ protein powder.”

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Peter Maciver

PT & founder of PMac Fitness

“Fasted training first thing in the morning works best for me, followed by a protein shake. My first meal of the day is at lunchtime – sweet potato, chicken and broccoli is my go-to. Sweet potatoes provide slow-releasing carbs, chicken is a fantastic, lean source of protein, and broccoli delivers a hit of both greens and fibre. Protein powder may not be something you think you need but it’s a great way to build a stronger body – Kinetica protein gets my vote as it’s clean, great quality and tastes amazing.”

PMAC is part of SmileDirectClub's Confidence Council. Visit PMacFitness.com and follow @PMacFitness

Rod Buchanan

founder of BodByRod & co-creator of barre at Psycle

“My workouts tend to be around mid-morning after my first client. I’ll have a coffee with Oatly milk – the caffeine gives my metabolism a boost. Along with my coffee, a typical pre-gym meal will be smashed avocado on sourdough with smoked salmon. Avocado is full of mono-unsaturated fats, keeping me feeling light and energised, while salmon is rich in potassium, which ensures proper muscle function. Jason’s Sourdough Grains and Seeds is my go-to loaf. If I’ve done a later workout, I’ll make a chicken or fish-based dish. I’m also a huge fan of cottage cheese – it’s a great source of protein and I have it with most meals. When it comes to snacks, I can’t get enough of Deliciously Ella’s Chocolate Orange Almonds and Livia’s Kitchen treats.”

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Andy Cannon

PT at TruConnect

“Pre and post-workout meals are the most important meals – fuel and refuel. Before hitting the gym, a high-carb, low-fat option is your best bet – this will provide easy-to-digest energy to fuel your workout. Think a bagel with jam, or a banana with high-protein yoghurt. After a workout, aim for something high in both protein and carbs, such as a chicken or prawn fajitas with plenty of veg and avocado for micronutrients. My priority is always high protein – this keeps me sated so I’m less likely to snack and optimises muscle growth. I’m also a fan of Tenzing’s natural energy drinks on busy days.”

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Jermaine Johnson

instructor at Peloton Tread

“Before a run or my own cardio-based sessions, I keep it simple with a banana for carbs and electrolytes. Ahead of a weightlifting session, I’ll have a bowl of overnight oats made with chia seeds, flaxseed, coconut milk and nut butter. They say porridge is the breakfast of champions, and I find soaking the oats aids digestion and keeps me fuller for longer. Since turning plant based, I’m conscious of keeping my protein levels up by adding beans and pulses to most meals. I also like to include anti-inflammatory foods to aid recovery, such as avocado and turmeric, as well as fermented foods for gut health. My favourite post-workout meal is vegan chilli with aubergine, lentils, kidney beans, carrot, and brown rice or quinoa. For snacks, I rate Larry’s protein cookies, Grounded protein shakes or peanut butter with rice cakes.”

Visit OnePeloton.co.uk & follow @JermaineJohnsonUK

Dan Savage

trainer at A Body Forever

“Starting the day with a metcon or cardio class is my preferred form of training, and I perform best on an empty stomach, so wait until mid-morning to eat. Scrambled eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms on wholemeal toast with a mug of green tea is the perfect combination of protein and fats to aid recovery. If I’m working out in the late afternoon or evening, I’ll make honey-fried salmon with pasta and broccoli for dinner. When it comes to snacks, I’m addicted to Pret’s Mango and Banana Sunshine Bowl – it contains plenty of natural sugars to give energy levels a boost – and Grenade protein bars.”

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