Pre workout food

Pre workout food – Advice tips and truths

What to eat before a fitness class?

Written by Rob Maher (UK Outdoor Fitness)

Why you should eat prior to a workout

This blog post is to give our members a better understanding about what the right foods are to eat to optimise performance at boot camp and promote healthy eating to our members this winter and thereafter.

Please note the right pre workout food is very important

‘You should always eat food prior/pre workout something before a bootcamp class so your body has enough fuel to power through your workout.’

Ignore the myths that starving yourself pre-workout will cause your body to burn more fat during your workout. This is not true, and can actually have detrimental effects on your body.  Not eating pre workout can cause your body to actually use more energy from proteins than fats (deriving from muscle mass). This counteracts the point of the workout, which is to increase muscle mass and get lean! Your body needs sugars to use as fuels. These sugars come from Carbohydrates making a small, healthy snack consisting mainly of healthy carbohydrates perfect for fuelling your workout.

When you should eat prior to a workout

There are no set rules for when is the best time to eat prior to a workout and it can vary between each individual, depending on the foods you are eating. As a general rule; for a large meal leave between 2 and 4 hours before exercising, for a medium / small meal leave between 1-2 hours before exercising and snacks (fruits) can be consumed between 0-1 hour before.

30mins before workout

A snack consumed just before workout should be a fast-digesting carbohydrate that contains little fat. (Fat digests slowly, so you want to avoid this just before exercising.) This enables you to digest the meal quickly and assures energy is available during your workout.

Pre Workout Snacks and food before a Bootcamp class

  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit smoothie
  • High-glycemic fruits like pineapple, apricots, banana, mango, and watermelon
  • Sports drinks
  • Pretzels or bagels (but not whole grain varieties, which digest slowly)
  • Energy bars (look for 3-5 grams of protein, at least 15 grams of carbs, and very little fat)
Banana 2

Banana is an excellent source of energy as well as many other health benefits

2 hours before workout

An ideal meal time is approximately 2 hours before your workout. This should be 300-500 calories consisting mainly of healthy carbohydrates. This is probably the most common method and it must be noted that the higher the fat and protein content, the longer you will need to wait before exercising!

Meal Ideas before Bootcamp (1-2 hours before):

  • Greek Yogurt and trial mix
  • Whole wheat toast and sliced banana
  • Nuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals (with more than 3 grams of fiber) and milk
  • Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  • Hummus and raw veggies
  • Hard boiled eggs (or egg whites)
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Half a peanut butter or turkey/chicken sandwich on whole grain bread
  • Whole grain crackers with nut butter or cheese
  • Whole grain fig (or fruit) Newton cookies
  • Milk (especially chocolate milk)
  • Tomato or vegetable juice
  • Yogurt smoothie (with added protein powder, if desired)
  • Most protein/energy bars
  • Bananas

As a moderate athlete there is a lot of flexibility available in terms of nutrition prior to workout. However it must be noted that food does need to be consumed prior to a workout and fasted workouts are counter-productive. It is about getting to know your body and what works best for you as each individual is different. Eating the right foods at the right times before your workout is essential for energy, performance and to keep your body burning fat!!


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