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Ever wonder what to eat before you workout?

Kelly Woolfe

The start of the new school year is just around the corner and love that my inbox is filling up with questions from all of you all about how to effectively work towards your health and fitness goals. So excited that you are ready to put some focus on YOU once the kids are back in school! Wanted to focus on one of the common questions I have been receiving, which is all about nutrition and WHAT to eat before exercise.

First and foremost, remember that every individual is different and has different needs. So no, there is no SET answer as a whole. We all have different genetic makeups, metabolisms, fitness goals, workouts and lifestyles. So, a “cookie cutter” plan doesn't suit all, but its a great starting point for you to branch off of, listen to your body, and figure out what is right for you and your goals.

So, let's get started! Depending on your exercise routine, you may or may not need pre-workout snacks, meals or formulas. For example, if you are exercising at a low to moderate pace for under 30 minutes, its most likely you don't need anything prior to your workout. On the other hand, if your workout consists of heavy weight lifting, or HIIT training, or any kind of combination of the above, having a pre-workout snack will definitely provide a nice burst of energy to get you through your workout.

Some great examples of good foods before a workout are:

  • Carbs plus a little bit of protein - think turkey on a slice of whole grain bread
  • Fruits
  • Dried fruits (although, sugar content is high so keep the serving size small)
  • Shakeology
  • Fruit leathers (my kids LOVE the Stretch Island fruit leather, especially in cherry!)
  • If you’ve eaten a bigger meal about an hour or so before your workout, its likely that you can get away without a pre-workout snack (unless you are working towards muscle building or doing very high intensity work)

Want a little more information about what specifically to eat for YOUR specific workout?

  • HIIT Training ---- Perfect for those short on time or who want a short, intense and effective workout.
    • Perfect preworkout snack? Fruit and nut bar - Kind or Lara bars are great!
  • Strength Training --- We need some carbohydrate in our muscle to produce some power in the weight room. We also need protein to provide those muscle building amino acids.
    • Perfect preworkout snack? Plain lowfat or nonfat Greek yogurt with granola.
  • Crossfit --- Okay, so we all know its exhausting! Greater blood flow to the muscles is needed during this type of intense workout.
    • Perfect preworkout snack? Fresh beet and peach salad.
  • Sprints or Short Distance Running --- Light and easy to digest is key with carbs that are ready to be used for activity.
    • Perfect preworkout snack? A slice of whole wheat toast with jam.
  • Long Distance Running --- Don't eat anything with ingredients that will work against you, such as sugar alcohols and glycerin which can cause bloating and cramps.
    • Perfect preworkout snack? High protein energy bars, around 200 cals.
  • Pilates -- Some healthy carbs to fuel your entire workout along with protein to keep hunger at bay.
    • Perfect preworkout snack? 2/3 cup berries with 6oz of plain nonfat Greek yogurt.

Remember to AVOID overeating! This is just a snack and you don't want to overdo it and make your workout counterproductive!

Here are a few additional Pre-Workout Snack ideas to fuel you for your best workout:

If I didn't cover preworkout nutrition for YOUR particular workout, feel free to get in touch and I'd be happy to talk with you individually!!