What to eat before and after your Pilates workout


So what is the best thing to eat before you come to Pilates? Certainly doing a full set of The Hundred after a roast dinner is not going to feel terribly comfortable and in fact when your instructor is repeatedly asking you to ‘hollow’ and ‘scoop’ your abs you may feel downright ill. So first of all, make sure whatever it is, it’s a small portion and fairly light.

Secondly, food is fuel and it’s no use wilting with lethargy after the warm up as we all know that there’s a whole world of stamina needed after that. The best pre-Pilates food combo is something with a low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrate source, moderate protein and low fat. Here are some ideas:

  • Trusty banana or other piece of fruit
  • Low fat yoghurt
  • Popcorn (not the dripping with butter/icing sugar type – just air popped with a tiny bit of salt)
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Slice of toast (the grainier the better) with sliced tomato or avocado (or both!) on top
  • Celery sticks with nut butter (almond is great if you can make it yourself with your blender)
  • Fruit or green smoothie

After your class, you can go for something a bit more substantial. If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, the afterglow of exercise can be a great time to eat as your body’s metabolic rate is at it’s highest and let’s face it, we may as well make hay while the sun shines and take advantage of this. Go for a meal that contains quality low GI carbohydrates, protein and good fats (the avocado/olive oil/smoked salmon kind, not the McNuggets kind).

Depending on the time of day that it is, here are a few ideas for you:

  • Wholemeal wrap with hummus, beans (5 bean mix is great) and salad greens
  • Porridge
  • Poached eggs on toast
  • Lean meat and salad sandwich
  • Quinoa salad or stir fry
  • Soup with piece of super grainy bread

Most importantly of all, make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of the ‘food for reward’ mentality with exercise as you will end up digging yourself a giant hole that’s hard to get out of. Only recently a friend of mine text messaged me to say, you’d be so proud, I just went for a long walk with another friend… (cue triumphant band music!) and then we stopped at a cafe on the way home and I ate a sausage roll and hedgehog slice (proverbial bubble well and truly burst). She knows this is the ultimate windup but revenge is nigh as I have used her as a very fitting example for the above article (what?! she was ‘inspiring me!), C’est la vie.