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Eggs before and after workouts

Pre and post workout nutrition

Eating well and taking on board enough fluid are essential when training. Performance itself depends on having adequate carbohydrate available from liver and muscle glycogen stores, but eating the right foods during recovery after exercise is also a key aspect of training. Protein and carbohydrate are both crucial to help rebuild muscle and to top up glycogen stores.

Eating eggs pre-workout

Avoid eating large, heavy and high fat meals that are difficult to digest if you are planning to exercise or work out and try to eat at least an hour before you exercise. A light meal, based on easily digested foods providing you with enough carbohydrate and some protein, is best - so scrambled or poached eggs on toast, perhaps with a banana or some yoghurt, is ideal.

Eating eggs post-workout

Both protein and carbohydrate are essential post-work-out to help repair and grow muscle and to top up muscle and liver glycogen stores. Although muscles rebuild naturally, for effective results, protein is needed relatively soon – within the first hour - after training, together with carbohydrate and fluids.

So your post-work-out meals should be based on protein-rich foods such as eggs, milk or chicken, combined with a source of carbohydrate. A couple of boiled eggs with toast or a Spanish tortilla omelette with potato would make an excellent recovery meal.

Eggs are also rich in leucine – research suggests that this amino acid may be a trigger for increased muscle metabolism when protein is consumed after exercise.

Eggs and recovery

While 'recovery' supplements such as protein shakes, carbohydrate-protein drinks and protein bars may appear to provide a convenient way of getting nutrients immediately after exercise, they are invariably more expensive than ‘real’ food. You can get the protein, carbohydrate and other nutrients your body needs after an exercise session from egg-based dishes (such as scrambled or boiled eggs with wholemeal toast), milk-based drinks (such as home-made milkshakes), fruit with yogurt or pasta with cheese.

What do the experts say?

In 2017, the International Society of Sports Nutrition released a position statement on the role of protein in exercise, including egg proteins. They stated: “Egg protein is often thought of as an ideal protein because its amino acid profile has been used as the standard for comparing other dietary proteins. Due to their excellent digestibility and amino acid content, eggs are an excellent source of protein for athletes. “Egg protein may be particularly important for athletes, as this protein source has been demonstrated to significantly increase protein synthesis of both skeletal muscle and plasma proteins after resistance exercise at both 20 and 40 g doses.” They also went on to highlight the versatility of eggs, “eggs can be prepared with most meal choices, whether at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Such positive properties increase the probability of the athletes adhering to a diet rich in egg protein.”

Read the full statement here.

 

How eggs compare

The chart below provides a comparison of popular egg dishes with protein supplements and other popular products. The egg dishes supply 10 – 20g protein, the level considered optimal for recovery, and similar to that found in protein supplements and recovery drinks. By contrast, many sports drinks, cereal bars and pasta supply no, or only small amounts of protein.

All information checked by an independent Registered Nutritionist/Dietitian

 

Calories

Protein (g)

Carbohydrate (g)

Fat (g)

1 boiled egg and 2 slices toast + 10g margarine

320

15

31

17

2-egg plain omelette with 200g potatoes

325

19

35

14

Scrambled eggs (2) on 1 toasted bagel (60g)

334

20

35

14

Pasta (85g uncooked) with 100ml tomato pasta sauce

338

12

70

3

2 cereal bars (58g) (1)

250

4

40

8

500ml protein recovery shake (2)

385

22

62

6

500ml sports drink (3)

140

0

32

0

1 scoop (30g) protein powder (4)

120

23

2

2