What should I eat before a workout?

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You are just one workout away from your personal best. One workout away from pushing yourself to be the best you can be. The only thing standing in your way is you. Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back, least of all your nutrition. What you eat before a workout can drastically affect your performance. Reward your body with the nutrition it needs and you will be able to unleash your true athletic potential.

Ever eaten too much just before a workout? You start feeling heavy, sluggish and every burpee you do, every repetition in the gym, every mile you run makes you nauseous. Ever gone to a workout without having eaten anything for a few hours? You get tired much faster than usual, your stomach aches and you have no strength in you. Eating at the right time is crucial for your performance.

You should aim to eat your last meal 2 to 3 hours before your workout. The best thing to eat is a mix of protein-rich foods and complex carbohydrates that will give you enough energy for your workout. Protein before a workout may seem less important than afterwards, but it is crucial to maintain a constant level of amino acids within the body.

Many eat simple carbs such as pasta just before a workout but this can actually lead to the opposite intended result. During your workout, your blood sugar levels can suddenly drop, leaving you feeling completely exhausted. Instead, go for complex carbohydrates such as oats, wholegrain pasta, brown rice, potatos and wholegrain bread. You should also aim to avoid all fatty foods as they are difficult to digest and therefore take a lot of energy to break down. High fibre foods such as lentils or dried fruit should also be avoided just before a workout.

If you don’t manage to eat 2 to 3 hours before your workout and still don’t want to train on an empty stomach, try to eat something light and easy to digest. Fruit such as bananas, apples, pears or grapes are perfect. One piece of fruit or a small smoothie can give you up to 45 minutes of energy! Especially for those who like to train in the morning, smoothies and shakes are a perfect way to get the energy and nutrients you need. They take hardly any time to make and contain fluids which need to be replenished as soon as you wake up. You can find lots of ideas for recipes in our Nutrition Coach.

So now you know, keep it light and aim to eat 2 to 3 hours before your workout. Your body, your performance and your mind will thank you.