Pre-workout food 101: the good, the bad and the go-to snacks

Wednesday 23 September 2015
  • A bunch of bananas

Knowing what to eat before a workout can be a bit of a minefield.

Do you have a full-blown meal? Grab a small snack? Or do you even eat at all? 

Talk about a food dilemma. 

Here’s some handy tips to help you fuel up the right way…

What should I eat before a workout?

Don’t just think that any snack will do.

Eating the right kind of food can make a huge difference to how you feel and how you perform during your workout. 

And obviously the more intense your session, the more food you’ll need.

You want something that’s going to get you revved up for that run and sustain your energy levels, not make you feel sluggish – no one ever makes it to the gym feeling sluggish. 

Opt for healthy carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI) like veggies, sweet potato or good ol’ oats that’ll give you a slow release of energy and improve endurance – not the sugary stuff like lollies, which will see you crash and burn before you’ve even finished your first set. 

When to do I need to eat?

Timing is crucial when it comes to your pre-workout food intake. 

Personally, I like to have a small snack half an hour before a workout, and then eat a meal afterwards. However, some people literally can’t survive a gym sesh without having something more substantial in their belly.

If you do eat a meal, just remember to give yourself enough time to digest your food before exercising. FYI, stomach cramps don’t make for an effective workout.

Overall, it’s always a good idea to put fuel in the tank beforehand. A small easy-to-digest snack at least 30 minutes before is enough, or if you’d prefer to eat a meal, make sure you get in down you at least 90 minutes before exercising. That way you’ll be able to perform better, work harder and maximise your workout.

So next time you’re gearing up for the gym, grab one of these performance-enhancing snacks or prepare yourself the perfect pre-workout meal for an epic, high-energy workout.

Stayed tuned for next month’s ‘POST-WORKOUT FOOD 101’ infographic! 

Pre-workout food 101 infographic

Flickr Creative Commons Image via keepon I.

Amy Cox

Amy is UQ Sport’s resident blogger. She’s a peanut-butter loving Brit, who exercises to eat whatever she wants. You’ll find Amy either in the gym, playing badminton or doing the wrong moves in group fitness classes.