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What to eat before a workout

by Freya 3 minutes read

Last updated: 10 May, 2022

What you eat before a workout can be important for how your workout goes, it can make a huge difference to your performance.

What you should eat will depend on your exercise goals, whether that's losing weight or building muscle.

What to eat if your goal is fat loss

It is important to not cut our carbohydrates if you are working out to lose fat, it is needed as a source of energy when training. If you want to cut down on carbohydrates, you can lower the amount during the rest of the day.

It is a good idea to eat slow digesting carbohydrates (slow digesting) including:

  • Sweet potato
  • Whole grains
  • Oats
  • Quinoa

Here are some tasty recipes and food ideas that include the above:

  • Bananas
  • Porridge topped with fruit
  • Wholegrain toast
  • Smoothies with or without oats
  • Scrambled eggs on toast
  • Quinoa with cranberries and kale
Oat smoothie

What to eat before weight training or performance-based training

Eating a meal with carbs, protein and fat 2-3 hours before training can drastically improve your workout. Carbs will maximise glycogen stores which is important for high intensity exercises, protein will help improve muscle protein synthesis and help with recovery, and fat will help fuel your body to last longer for less intense workouts.

Here are some meal examples that include all three macros:

  • Porridge
  • Chicken with rice and vegetables
  • Whole Grain sandwich with lean meat
  • Omelette
  • Protein pancakes

If you are an early morning gym goer, it can be hard to get a full meal 2-3 hours before your workout as you need to wait for the food to digest properly before your workout.

You could go on an empty stomach, but this can cause light-headedness during the workout and can eventually lead your body to go into ‘shutdown mode’, which is when your body gets use to the lack of fuel you are giving it and will burn as little calories as it can to save energy, therefore, making it hard for you to lose weight.

Here are some last-minute energy boost foods you can eat within an hour before working out:

  • Protein bar
  • Protein shake
  • Fruit
  • Greek yoghurt and fruit
  • Cereal
  • Chocolate milk and a banana
Protein pancakes

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