What to Eat Before a Workout

By Jessica Morris on May 7, 2014 , categorized in Endurance, Strength + Conditioning

workout food

Just as you put fuel in your car before driving, you want to put fuel in your body before you work out. Eating the right type of fuel at the right time before your workout will help motivate and energize your workout? Pre-exercise fuel has many functions—it prevents low blood sugar, fuels your muscles and helps to ward off hunger. By selecting the right foods before your workout you can watch your performance excel!

1 to 3 Hours Pre-Workout

Preparing for your workout doesn’t just happen; there are many things to consider. Selecting a well-balanced meal containing all of your macronutrients (carbs, fats, protein) and even fiber, 1 to 3 before your workout will help to ward off hunger and top off muscle glycogen levels. A great pre-workout meal would be a gluten-free quinoa bowl with mixed berries, topped with slivered almonds and your favorite milk-alternative. On the go? Check out the Vega One Meal Bar for a fuss-less meal that is both nutritious and delicious!

Tip: When preparing your meals, be sure to choose food that are easily digested and can settle comfortably. This will help your body to use energy during your workout rather than in digestion!

20 to 30 Minutes Pre-Workout

It’s game time. You’re heading out the door, and you’re in a slight rush. Whether you’ve just woken up, or just finished work, it’s time to quickly prepare your body for your workout. Two main things to consider: holistic stimulants (such as yerba maté or green tea) and easily digestible, fast-acting carbohydrates (to top off your energy levels). If you’re up early and have no appetite, consider a liquid boost such as Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer to enhance mental focus and provide both immediate and sustained energy.

  • Sugar-free Fueling vs. Functional Sugar FuelingDifferent workouts have different fueling requirements. Length and intensity are two main considerations when fueling your body and preparing for your workout. Functional sugars (sugars or carbohydrates your body needs for energy and stamina) are used wisely when engaging in intensive workouts like weight training, Cross-fit, endurance runs or bicycle rides, especially those that last an 30 minutes or longer. Before any of those activities, drink Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer. If you are engaging in a less-intense or shorter workout such as yoga, pilates or walking, Vega Sport Sugar-Free Energizer is a suitable option to have 20 minutes pre-workout to give you an extra-boost without the added functional sugars your body doesn’t necessarily require for a less-intense workout.
  • Food vs. Liquid FuelIf you’d rather eat 20 to 30 minutes before you work out, a simple piece of fruit will do! If you’re bored of fruit or want to try something new, try a tablespoon of coconut oil blended with your favorite tea or on its own! Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides which are converted by the liver into energy source (much like carbohydrates) but contain no sugar or carbohydrates!If you have a sensitive stomach, liquid foods tend to leave the stomach faster than solid foods do. Try Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer, or fresh fruit juice before your workout. You can even try drinking a shot of Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer and 2 ounces of water, instead of a full drink. If you know you’ll be jittery and unable to tolerate any food before your event or workout, be sure to make a special effort to eat enough carbohydrates the day and night before.

Hydration:

Preventing dehydration before exercise is one of the keys of maintaining exercise performance (especially in hot/humid environments). Leading up to your workout, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. If possible, drink extra fluid leading up to your sport or workout, until your urine is a pale color. Drink about 15 to 20 ounces (2 to 3 cups), 2 to 3 hours before exercise and 8 to 10 ounces (about 1 cup), 10 to 15 min before exercise for optimal hydration and energy.

If you are hoping for success in the gym or at your game and results in the mirror, planning your pre-workout meals and hydration is crucial. There are many things to consider when fueling for your workout but the quality and selection of the right food at the right time and proper hydration is paramount. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just be sure to schedule your pre-workout nutrition just as you schedule your workouts. Happy fueling!

References

1. Kreider et al. ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations .Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:7 http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/7

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energy nutrient timing pre-workout sports nutrition

Jessica Morris

A Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP), Jessica specializes in blood sugar and weight management, natural sports nutrition and longevity. Jessica is a certified personal trainer and indoor cycling instructor. Her enthusiasm for plant-based nutrition, fitness, and health inspires her clients to take charge of their health and create positive changes.

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