Pre-workout Nutrition Basics
Everyone has their own idea of what’s best to eat before a workout. To me, it depends on the time of day, the exercise I’ll be doing, and what my body is telling me at that time. Because all of our bodies are so uniquely different, it’s important that everyone figures out what they can best tolerate before a workout, and what makes them feel the most energized while not being weighed down. There are a few general rules that seem to help most of us figure this out, so if you are trying to figure out your best pre-workout fuel choice, think about the following first:
How long do I have until my workout?
If you have at least an hour until you are planning to start your workout, it’s okay to have something a little larger, that has some protein and carbohydrates, as well as maybe has a bit of healthy fat or fiber in it. While those things take longer to digest, your body will have the time to break them down and then re-focus it’s energy to your muscles. If you have less than an hour, especially if it’s only 15-30 minutes, stick to simple carbohydrates with maybe a small amount of protein. Pick foods that your body knows and that you can digest easily and quickly, so that your body isn’t spending all of it’s energy trying to digest while your muscles are working hard.
What type of workout am I doing?
If you plan to do more weight lifting, get both protein and carbohydrate. If your focused on endurance and cardio exercises, carbohydrates will be the most important thing to focus on (though a small amount of protein is okay here too).
How long has it been since I last ate?
If you ate a meal or snack within the past 1-2 hours, you probably aren’t feeling too hungry and likely don’t need to eat anything else before your workout. If however you are feeling some hunger pangs, listen to your body and have a small snack. If you are working out first thing in the morning, it can be helpful to eat something small and light if you can stomach it- it might help you power through your workouts and get more benefit.
A few of my favorite pre-workout snacks are in the picture above:
- yogurt with a little granola and berries
- nuts and date bites (these are the new cherry chocolate chip Lärabar bites –so yummy!)
- my favorite and trusty standby: a piece of toast with nut butter and sliced banana. It never fails to satisfy, digest easily, and give me the perfect boost of energy!