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An award-winning nutritionist, health writer and former bodybuilding champion, Anita specialises in offering nutritional advise to athletes of all levels. She aims to motivate and inspire people to lead a healthier life through my books,...

We’re not saying it’s necessary to weigh out every meal and snack from here on in, but once you’ve seen the specific quantities, you’ll get to know what a healthy portion looks like.

The activity

1hr of aerobics or Zumba

Your weight = 60kg | Calories burned in 1hr = 445
Your weight = 80kg | Calories burned in 1hr = 560

1hr before your workout

If it’s a few hours since your last meal, eat a healthy snack 1 hr before your class to raise your blood sugar levels:
Your weight = 60kg | Ideal intake = 30g carbs & 5g protein
1 large apple (150g) + 125g pot low-fat fruit yogurt
OR 1 snack bar such as Nakd Cashew Cookie Bar

Your weight = 80kg | Ideal intake = 40g carbs & 10g protein
1 large banana (150g) + 125g pot low-fat fruit yogurt
OR 1 energy bar such as Clif Crunchy Peanut Butter Bar

Within 2hr of completing workout

Aim to eat lunch or dinner around now. You’ll need carbohydrates to replace the energy you’ve burned during the class, as well as some protein to promote muscle repair:

Your weight = 60kg | Ideal intake = 90g carbs & 20g protein
300g jacket potato + 100g white fish + steamed broccoli + 1 banana

Your weight = 80kg | Ideal intake = 120g carbs & 25g protein
400g jacket potato + 125g white fish + steamed broccoli + 1 banana

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Do I need special drinks?

If you’re exercising for less than 1 hr, drink only water. There’s no need for branded ‘sports’ drinks, which may contain huge quantities of sugar.

If you’re exercising at a moderate-high intensity for longer than this (around 2–3 hr), you may want to drink diluted squash (1 part cordial to 6 parts water) to fuel your muscles with carbohydrates, as well as replace fluids.

If you’re exercising in hot or humid conditions, or for longer than 2 hr, a sports drink may be a good idea. These drinks contain sodium, which will help your body to retain water while exercising and replace salt lost through sweat, as well as carbohydrates for an energy boost.

Going for the burn?

Anita’s book, Food for Fitness 4th Edition (Bloomsbury Sport, £16.99), is a handy guide for anyone who’s taking their exercise plan to a new level. As well as dispelling popular myths, she shares the latest nutrition research for performance, giving you the tools to reach your peak. Plus find 65 delicious recipes, as well as sport-specific menu plans.