In this infographic Greatist share their guide to eating whilst working out.

They cover the basics for the following workout types:

  • Strength training
  • Cardio
  • Circuit training

Check out the infographic for more detail.

Our bodies are what keeps us going—it’s absolutely vital we feed it the nutrition it needs every day.

But when we’re working out, keeping our body’s replenished is especially important. Just like engines needing fuel, our bodies need the right food and fluids to perform at their best when we need them to.

In this blog, we’ll be talking about what to eat before, during and after exercise, why it’s important, and 5 easy home cardio workouts you can do to get your heart pumping!

We need to supply our bodies with the right food and drink before, during and after exercise to top up our blood-sugar concentration, enhance our performance, and optimise our full recovery time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a world-class athlete or an amateur gym-goer—what you give your body matters.

When our bodies move—more so during strenuous exercise—we lose vital electrolytes and fluids. By keeping our bodies well fed and hydrated, we’re better able to maintain our fluid levels and limit losses, that, if left, could cause health concerns.

You don’t need to follow a tight culinary schedule around your fitness regimes, and there are no strict rules and guidelines that you absolutely must follow. Instead, we recommend a common-sense approach, when, coupled with the right knowledge, can help you support your body before, during and after exercise.

What we will say is that strength training and cardio carry with them different demands, and therefore you will need to slightly adjust your intake behaviour.

What is strength training?

Strength training does exactly what it says on the tin: improving your strength by building muscle mass.

Strength training involves physical exercises designed specifically to improve body strength and, most important for some, endurance.

The vast majority of strength training involves weights, but can be exercised using a variety of equipment and methods.

Benefits of strength training

Strength training, when correctly implemented, can bring a plethora of functional benefits to our body’s health.

Those who regularly take part in strength training can expect improvements in strength of muscles, tendons, bone, ligaments and joint functions, as well as a reduced prone for injury.

But it’s not just muscles and ligaments that strength training can improve.

Bone density, a healthier metabolism and overall fitness and stamina are all areas that strength training can improve.

How to strength train

Strength training involves a combination of strategies and workouts to help train your body and build muscle, ligament and bone strength, as well as improved endurance.

It commonly involves progressively increasing muscle output through progressive increases in weight mass. Other exercises and equipment used to target specific muscle areas and regions are also used to build up muscle mass.

At its heart, strength training is an anaerobic activity—exercise with high intensity in short time scales to promote strength—though many of those in strength training have altered it to give them benefits that aerobic exercise would bring, such as through circuit training.

What is cardio?

‘Cardio’ is short for cardiovascular exercise—a type of low to high intensity aerobic exercise which relates to aerobic energy generating processes.

As you may know, ‘aerobic’ translates to requiring free oxygen.

To you and me, it means using oxygen to meet the body’s energy demands throughout the workout session via aerobic metabolism.

In fact, aerobic exercises are typically intended to be low-intensity so that all carbs are aerobically—that is, through the use of oxygen—are transformed into energy.

Cardio exercise generally means you actively partake in an activity that raises your heart rate enough to begin burning fat and calories—the ultimate end-goal, right?

Even bouts (or episodes) as short as 10 minutes count towards your weekly cardio exercise minutes. According to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, “episodes of any length contribute to the health benefits associated with the accumulated volume of physical activity.

Benefits of cardio exercise

That’s the science behind it, but what are the real benefits of regular, maintained cardio exercise?

Staying true to its name, cardio exercise can be achieved anywhere, anytime, and by any means. As long as you get the heart pumping, you can be assured that aerobic metabolism is working to bin those calories and enhance your endurance.

If you’re thinking you need to be a cardio champion and commit hours per day to start seeing results, you’ll be surprised to know that isn’t the case.

Even by committing short episodes of as little as 10 minutes, you can be well on your way to your weekly cardio target. Many health authorities recommend at least 150 minutes per week.

Other benefits of cardio exercise include:

  • It strengthens your heart so that it doesn’t need to do overtime to carry blood around your body
  • Your lung capacity increases
  • Cardio helps reduce risk of sky-high cholesterol, heart attack, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Cardio is great for your mental wellbeing. It boosts your overall mood and can help cope with depression and anxiety.
  • Cardio improves your sleep patterns and overall sleep quality
  • It lowers your stress levels
  • It can improve your sex life

The all-in-one cardio home workout

This 10-minute NHS home cardio workout can help you burn calories, feel great and lose weight.

It counts towards your 150-minutes-per-week cardio workout recommendation.

Before you start the workout, warm up with a five-minute warm-up full of stretches. After you finish, cool down with a five-minute stretch or a yoga and meditation session.

Rocket jumps: 2 sets of 15 to 24 repetitions (reps)

Stand your feet hip-width apart, and hands on your thighs.

Jump up, raising your hands above your head. Land softly and repeat.

Star jumps or squats: 2 sets of 15 to 24 reps

You’ve all done this before!


Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and your hands down your sides (or stretched out for balance).

Gradually lower your body by bending your knees until they’re nearly at a right angle.

Keep your back straight and avoid your knees extending over your toes.

Tap backs: 2 sets of 15 to 24 reps

Step your right leg behind and lift both arms forward. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Look forward and keep hips and shoulders forwards. Do not allow your front knee to extend over your toes as you step backwards.

Burpees: 2 sets of 15 to 24 reps

Lower into a squad with hands on the ground. Kick your feet backwards into a push-up position. Then, jump your feet back into the squat position and jump with your arms reaching overhead.