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Eating for energy: An Athlete's Perspective

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

Written by: Alanna Bray-Lougheed

January is often when we start a new workout routine, or just try to get our bodies moving more. With busy work days, sometimes these workouts are rushed into free moments and thinking about nutrition goes out the window. Most of the time, pre- and post- workout nutrition is targeted towards elite athletes who are looking to build muscle. However, if you are building into a new routine and are working out multiple times a week, considering your nutrition will be beneficial for ensuring you are ready to go for your next workout, or simply taking on your day,

Before your workout, focusing on snacks that provide enough carbohydrates will help provide your body with the fuel it needs to push through those last sets. Below are a few examples:

- 1 serving of fruit (banana, dates, dried figs, melon, berries)

- Rice cake with 1 tbsp nut butter and 1 tbsp honey

After your workout, focusing on adding protein in addition to carbohydrates will help with repairing your muscles and restoring energy stores in your body. Post-workout nutrition is important if you are planning on working out again the following day. Proper nutrition can ensure your body has recovered properly and will be ready to go again. Below are a few examples:

-Scrambled eggs and whole grain toast

-Smoothie (¾ cup plain greek yogurt, 1 banana, ½ cup frozen fruit, 1 cup milk of choice or water, 1 tbsp flax, hemp, or chia seed)

- Apple with 2 tbsp nut butter and a glass of milk or ¾ cup greek yogurt

- Energy Bites (Serving size: 1-2 balls )

BONUS RECIPE: Post-Workout Energy Bites


1 ½ cup oats*

¼ cup almond flour

⅔ cup natural peanut butter**

1 banana, mashed

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 tbsp chia seed***

⅓ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp sea salt


1. In large bowl, combine oats, almond flour, coconut, chia, dried cranberries and sea salt

2. In another bowl, combine mashed banana, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Heating the peanut butter in the microwave for a few seconds can help make it easier to mix.

3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry in two stages, stirring after each addition.

4. Roll into small balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Sometimes I will use a cookie scoop to ensure the snack bites are uniform in size

5. Place baking sheet in freezer for 30 minutes to allow snack bites to firm up. Enjoy!


*can use large flake oats or quick cooking oats. Large flake oats offer better texture, while quick cook oats allow the bites to hold better

**can use almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter instead

***if I have ground flax seed on hand, I will do a combination of chia and ground flax seed. 1 ½ tbsp of each!

Nutrition Facts (per 1 snack bite):

Calories 139

Fat 8.2g

Saturated Fat 1.4g

Cholesterol 0mg

Sodium 30.1mg

Carbohydrates 13.8g

Fiber 3g

Sugar 6.7g

Protein 4g


Alanna is one of our wonderful volunteers at One Elephant Integrative Health Team. She is a recent graduate of the Nutrition program at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, and on track to becoming a Registered Dietitian. Alanna is currently a member of Team Canada for sprint kayaking and training to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 


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