People so often focus on their post-workout meal, which we know is important, as eating after a workout replenishes your body with the energy, nutrients and fluids that you burned through your session, but what about eating before your workouts? Should you eat before a workout and do you really need it?
Importance of having pre-workout food
Having meals before any type of exercise or sport is often just as essential as eating post-workout. With the right amount and timing, your pre-gym food and drink intake may provide such benefits:
- Energy and hydration for your workout (or sport!)
- Improved power, speed, focus and endurance
- Aid in achieving desired body composition
- Delayed onset of fatigue
- Avoidance of having an upset gut
A little reminder
Adding a pre-workout snack adds to your kilojoule/calorie intake. If you are particular with your energy requirement, consider how much you are consuming and if you really need it. If you think you can go without, consider focusing on your post workout meal then. It's always best to chat to your Food Coach or nutritionist about pre- and post-workout meals to ensure you are getting exactly what you need and are prioritising your health.
What should we eat before a workout?
We all have different preferences on what foods to eat before exercising, so there is really no best pre-workout food to have; we also have individual requirements and fitness goals. A light meal such as some fruit or yoghurt may be a good option when doing low impact exercises like yoga or Pilates, while a small bowl of tomato-based pasta or toast may be apt for running, BodyPump or high intensity interval training (HIIT).
Here are a few things to remember when picking out your preferred pre-workout food:
- Carbohydrate-rich foods for your energy stores
- Low fibre, low fat and easy to digest food to prevent gut upset
- Avoid trying new foods prior to training or exercise
Don't forget your pre- and post-workout stretches too.
Depending on what type of exercise or sport you are doing, here are a few pre-workout foods that may suit:
30-60 minutes before exercise:
- Apple and nut butter
- Banana with a drizzle of honey
- Fruit smoothie (homemade)
- Protein bar or shake
- Toast with jam
Looking for a breakfast smoothie? Try this one - it's delish!
1-2 hours before exercise:
- Oats or cereal with yoghurt
- Tomato-based pasta bowl
- Chicken or salmon, rice or veggies
We have loads of recipes available in Fernwood Pulse, so make sure you login and have a scroll through.