Being physically active is important to me because I know it benefits my well-being, in all different aspects: reduces stress, allows me to sleep better, let’s me indulge into more of my guilty pleasures, and it makes me stronger. I feel like pre-workout meals and snacks are overlooked when training because much of the time people worry about post-work out recovery nutrition. However, this is a misconception because it is just as important to receive proper nutrition before a training session to allow muscles to build and exert a great amount of energy. In addition to receiving food and nutrients, it also important to stay hydrated when working out, so try to drink 16-20 oz of water 1-2 hours before working out!
Unsure of what to eat before a workout, try these options!
If you have 2-3 hours before a workout, try and make sure you have at least a small meal that has a good amount of protein and carbs. The sizes of these meal and snacks vary because I know some people don’t like to have much food in their stomach during physical activity. So choose what is best for your body!
- Fruit and yogurt
- Peanut Butter Sandwich
- Cereals (with more than 3 grams of fiber) and milk
- Brown rice and grilled chicken
- Hummus and raw veggies
- Hard boiled eggs /Egg whites and toast
- salad with grilled chicken/eggs
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Half a peanut butter or turkey/chicken sandwich on whole grain bread
- Whole grain crackers with peanut butter butter or cheese
- Milk (especially chocolate milk)
- Yogurt smoothie (with added protein powder, if desired)
- Most protein/energy bars
If you have 30 minutes to an hour before a workout: look for food that has fast digesting carbohydrates along with very little fat (which digests slowly), so that you digest the meal quickly and the fuel is available during your workout session.
- turkey jerky
- Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
- Fruit smoothie
- High-glycemic fruits like pineapple, apricots, banana, mango, and watermelon
- Sports drink
- Pretzels or crackers
- Energy bars (look for 3-5 grams of protein, at least 15 grams of carbs, and very little fat)
I would not recommend a whole meal before a workout if you have less than about forty-five minutes because it would make you feel heavy and possibly nauseous having so much in your system. But I’d still recommend a snack! I have the following snacks before my runs in the morning during the winter because I don’t have much time for my stomach to digest anything when I go to the gym or to my basement for a treadmill workout in the morning!
If I have less than 10-15 minutes before my workout I’ll try one of these small snacks:
- string cheese
- spoon of peanut butter
- 1/2-full banana