Eating before you workout provides your body with the fuel it needs to withstand heavy exercise, which causes your blood sugar to drop. Some people (like me) are more sensitive to this drop than others, so you’ll have to experiment with different size snacks and timing to find what works best for you.
You should be eating simple carbohydrates that are easily digested closer to your workout; fruit usually does the trick. If you have a few hours before working out, eat a good meal of protein and complex carbohydrates, like a chicken breast with baked sweet potato, and then have a bit of fruit before exercising.
And without further ado, here are 10 energy-packed pre-workout snack ideas, roughly in order of what to eat 30 mins before working out to hours before working out:
1. Fruit - A simple sugar that’s digested easily will help kick start your workout. Athlete favourites: oranges, bananas & apples.
2. A smoothie made w/ fruit, soy milk and ice.
3. Yogurt Parfait – Combine natural (unsweetened) yogurt, blueberries, strawberries and granola. (This is especially good for breakfast as you have fruit to get your engine going plus protein and granola to keep you satisfied for a couple of hours.)
4. Crackers w/ peanut butter – About 8-12 crackers w/ 1 tbsp natural peanut butter.
5. A bit of cheese with fruit - A bit of protein and fruity goodness in a quick-to-make snack.
6. Whole grain cereal w/ milk.
7. Oatmeal - I’m talking about the real stuff that you cook on your stove, not the sugar-packed microwavable pouches. Cook 3/4C-1C of oats and sweeten with honey and berries. A friend of mine likes oatmeal and peanut butter, so you can try that, too.
8. Hard boiled eggs w/ yolks replaced with humus (extra yummy with a dusting of paprika). Best if followed by a complex carb like a slice of whole wheat bread.
9. Turkey breast on whole wheat bread w/mustard.
10. Brown rice with your favourite lean meat & steamed veggies.
If you feel queasy or get side stitches while working out after eating, try eating three hours beforehand or opt for a liquid shake (mostly recommended for morning fitness fans, who need the extra boost after having not eaten for roughly seven hours).
Remember to down a tall glass of water with your snack and to drink consistently throughout your workout.
Coming soon: a list of post-workout meals in which sugar is often recommended. Hell yeah!
What do you like to eat before working out? Do you ever feel sick if you don’t — or do — eat before exercising?