Nutrition in it self is a complex science. More so when it comes to exercising. Here are a few tips on what you can do nutritionally to optimize your health and workouts.

In general you should try to eat 5-6 smaller meals per day (including snacks) to keep your metabolism going. This way you will store less fat and burn it more efficiently. The ratio of carbohydrates to protein should be 2:1. Don’t make the mistake of starving yourself in order to loose weight (in general or after your workouts). You will just achieve the opposite.
Drink water during and after your workouts. Do not make the mistake to indulge in sport drinks. They are packed with sugar, especially fructose, which is very bad for your health and ruins the beneficial results of your workouts. Unless you are a professional, competitive athlete drinks like Gatorade make no sense. By the way, the original Gatorade tasted a lot different than the one Pepsi put on the market after acquiring the company. Skip your coffee and drink green tea. Studies show that coffee promotes weight gain around the waist by increasing cortisol levels and causing hypoglycemia. Green tea will give you the same energy boost. In addition it stabilizes your blood sugar, slightly curbs appetite and sweet cravings, helps with weight loss, promotes healthy sleep (in moderate amounts), and is good for your teeth. Just don’t put sugar into it.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, exercising before breakfast is not only healthier but also burns significantly more fat. Although the suggestions below are based on workouts performed on empty stomach they also apply to exercising in a fed state.

Cardio-Days: Wait up for 45-60 minutes after your cardio workout before you eat to maximize fat burning. Usually that is enough time to shower, get dressed and to get back home from the gym. Your post-workout meal should consist of protein from whole foods (e.g. chicken, eggs) and carbohydrates from fibrous vegetables. But do not load up on carbs. Studies found that eating a low-carbohydrate meal after aerobic exercise enhances your insulin sensitivity. And this is good for overall health and to prevent diabetes type II.

Weight-Training-Days: Have your meal 15-30 minutes afterward because you have about an hour window after your workout to get all the necessary nutrients into your muscles for them to be repaired and to grow. A good post-workout meal here would be based on protein and more readily available carbohydrates (e.g. banana, yams). Whey protein would be good (20-30g) because it is predigested and readily available.

On non-workout days stick to my general suggestions and avoid fructose except from fruit. Also reduce processed foods and refined carbohydrates as much as possible. Best is to get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits. But be aware that some fruits are also loaded with fructose. For example grapes are very high in fructose and low in fiber which makes them nutritionally very inferior. In general go for less fructose and high fiber content.