As a trainer, one of the most commonly asked questions I get is "What should I eat before a workout?"
There are a million good answers to this questions and everyone is different. However, in a nutshell, you want to get in a decent serving of quality carbs and protein, while making sure you give yourself ample time to digest before you train, especially if you have planned metabolic work like a HIIT workout or bootcamp style class. A healthy dose of protein and quick digesting carbs are a solid go-to, to ensure you have the necessary amino acids in place for muscle recovery, as well as ample carbohydrate to fuel your session. Anything that digests slowly has the potential to sit in your gut and make your workout uncomfortable at best. Keep your portions small if you are eating within 30-45 minutes of training and save your fats and fibre for well after your workout, since they are slow digesting and can interfere with the absorption of your carbs and protein pre-workout. If you prefer to have a larger meal, make sure you give yourself 1.5 - 2 hours to digest and settle before you jump into a tough workout.
Here are a couple quick snack ideas that include some protein along with some quick absorbing carbs for fast energy to fuel an intense workout. Remember to control your portions according to your bodyweight and energy needs, and hydrate well along with your meal before you train.
Small bowl of steel cut oats mixed with egg whites + protein powder + berries or maple syrup - YUM
Rice cake + banana + peanut butter - I usually have protein powder in milk or almond milk to go with it
Ezekiel toast + peanut butter + jam (you can substitute berries for the jam if you're looking to control carbs)
Bowl of granola + berries + greek yogurt
Cottage cheese + fresh fruit
Light sandwich with turkey, cheese + pea sprouts
Protein shake with milk + fruit + chia seeds. If I'm pressed for time I just grab a shaker, fill it with protein powder and add milk or water. I always have a shaker with powder at the ready so I can just grab and go any time
Ultimately, eat what makes you feel energized during your workouts and avoid things that make you feel sluggish. Fibre usually makes people feel bloated and slow, and I can tell you from experience that too much fibre before a long or high intensity cardio workout can sometimes spell disaster. Experiment with different meals and snacks and find what is best for you. Through trial and error you should be able to find something that gives you the fuel and nutrients you need and doesn't make you feel like you are going to toss up your lunch.
Try some of the suggestions above and let me know what works for you.
- Coach A.