We get asked quite a lot from clients ‘What should I eat before my workout?’
We’ve all been there – scoffing a banana 30 minutes before an intense fitness class in the hope it’ll give us enough energy, then spending the next half an hour feeling slightly nauseous.
Determining what to eat before a workout can be tricky and it’s essential to think about both the activity you have planned, and the goals you have in mind. We give you all the info you need to sort out your pre-workout meals for each class based on your goal, whether that be fat loss or muscle gain.
What to Eat Before A Workout…To Lose Fat
Numerous studies have named high intensity training the winner for fat loss. This is based largely on the impact it can have compared to the same period spent doing cardio, and the after-burn effect (especially if you include resistance). SMART Training Group Training Class is a great mixture of High Intensity Training and resistance exercises. If you are gearing up for one of our Group Training Sessions or another type of HIIT class, then you’re going to need sustenance, right?
Half a banana and some yogurt is ideal. Make sure whatever you do eat is light and easily digestible. What you eat pre-workout is something that you should experiment with. Most people think their way is best, but there’s no right or wrong answer. The alternative is to train fasted if you prefer. This is a good option if you have a HIIT session early in the morning. Again, this is very personal.
You should try to eat an hour before training. If you are new to this type of training, having food-fuel will help get you through your session and should stop you from feeling ill during or after the session. The reason behind this is because our body needs oxygen to digest the food we have eaten and training increases the body’s need for oxygen. The last thing you need when you are doing a taxing workout is battling for oxygen on both fronts.
What to Eat Before a Workout….For Energy!
If you are planning to head to a spin class or go for a long distance run or even a long hike, your body will require energy in the bank to push itself. So what to eat?
We suggest a baked sweet potato with an avocado salad of tomatoes, fresh spinach and pine nuts. Or perhaps a bowl of Pro-oats with berries….Pro-oats are simply oats made with a spoonful of protein powder. Alternatively try a fruit smoothie or even a cold press juice to energise you if you’re short of time.
Remember to always eat an hour before, if not more.
What to Eat Before A Workout…..To Build Muscle
If you are trying to tone up or build muscle, strength training is probably the form of training you are favouring. It has been proven to both burn fat AND build muscle, so you’ll definitely need sustenance to power through a resistance workout.
We suggest the following for optimal pre-workout gains:
Bulletproof coffee (or coffee with the addition of coconut oil and or butter), plant based milks, mixed nuts, dark, organic chocolate or chicken and guacamole.
If your goal is to build muscle, your pre-workout snacks should be predominantly made up of healthy fats and protein. This combination helps raise the neurotransmitters acetyl-choline and dopamine, which increase focus, drive and motivation.
As a general rule, I would always have a pre-workout snack 60 minutes before the workout. Some people may need to consume their pre-workout snack slightly earlier- around 90 minutes before working out.
What to Eat Before a Workout….To Lose Weight!
If you’re looking to lose a few pounds, then upping your protein intake and designing your workouts around body weight and resistance it the best course of action. Make a date with your mountain climbers and burpees and take note.
Pre workout, we suggest high protein meals so perhaps a salmon and avocado combo. Eggs is one of the easiest ways to get additional protein into your diet. If you are in a rush, a handful of almonds can be a lifesaver, especially if you’re planning to exercise after work before heading home for dinner.
Whatever you eat, we recommend it be based around protein and healthy fat. This will ensure that you don’t raise your insulin levels, a process which would prevent muscle protein being used as energy.
Generally speaking, for an afternoon/evening workout, I’d recommend eating a healthy, lean meal 2-3 hours beforehand and maybe having a small snack 30-60 minutes before.
30-Day Kick Start Programmes
If you feel have a goal in mind and feel that you could use a the guidance or support of some of the best Personal Trainers in the country, we offer a 30 Day Kick Start programme in our Churchtown based gym. We offer both Personal Training and Group Training programmes. During the 30 days, you’ll learn what you need to know to continue on your own path following the 30 days, or you can always sign up for 1-on-1 Training or Semi Private Training or even Group Training at SMART Training to continue working with a personal trainer.