Knowing what to eat before a workout may be just as important as your actual workout! It is crucial to provide your body with the proper fuel from the foods you eat in order to help your body prepare before exercise and recover and refuel after exercise.
If you’ve gone longer than 4 hours without eating, it’s probably not a good time to exercise. Your body needs gas in the tank to perform at its optimum level. There’s no way you’ll have a great workout if you’re running on empty.
- Aim to have a small meal or snack about 1 hour prior to your workout.
- Think carbohydrates = ENERGY!
- Eat carbohydrate-rich foods that contain protein, are low in fat and not too high in fiber (easier to digest).
- Experiment with various foods to see what works best for your body and the optimum times to consume pre-exercise meals and snacks.
The best pre-workout food for one person may not be the best for another. One of the most popular pre-race meals for distance runners is a bagel and peanut butter, but for me, that just doesn’t work. Peanut butter makes me feel sluggish and seems to just sit in my stomach. I found that old-fashioned oats mixed with frozen fruit and organic soy milk makes me feel the lightest and the most energized.
Try these foods and see what works best for you:
- Banana with a handful of almonds
- 8 oz smoothie with Greek yogurt, frozen fruit and your choice of milk
- Hummus with peppers, carrots, snap peas or cherry tomatoes
- KIND bar (or make your own KIND bars!)
- Whole grain toast and a hard-boiled egg
- Roasted chickpeas with cumin and lemon
- Baked sweet potato with cinnamon
- Banana Nut and Honey Protein Muffins
*HYDRATION is also critical before, during and after a workout! For every pound of fluid lost during a workout, rehydrate with 20-24 ounces of electrolyte rich fluids.