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  • Angelique Smith

Pre-workout nutrition, to help you reach your exercise potential

I am sure you all wonder what foods should be consumed to help enhance exercise performance and the common question among exercise enthusiasts is all to do with what to eat before, during and after training sessions to improve their performance.

Today I am here to give some advice on pre-workout nutrition to advise you on what type of foods you should be consuming before your training sessions.

So why is pre-workout nutrition so important?

Well first of all, pre-workout nutrition helps one improve performance and ensures that you feel great before, during and after your workout whether it be training for a couple of hours or even just 30 minutes.

It helps you perform at your best during your training sessions which is vital for your own personal improvement and future performance.

You might not realise it, but what you consume before exercising can improve your training sessions hugely. This is because it ensures that your glycogen stores are topped up and blood sugar levels are maintained throughout your workout, preventing energy dips, fatigue, and aids in your recovery.

It is important to keep in mind that nutrition is very individualised, so one thing may work for you, but not for someone else you know. With pre-workout nutrition specifically, there will always be variability in terms of the timing of your meals, the types of foods that you consume and the quantity of food that you consume which is why it is important to see what works best for you and get great dietary advice from a registered dietitian to help you achieve your goal.

Remember that your pre-workout nutrition is also very dependent on what your usual dietary intake is like and this should be taken into consideration or adjusted over time to enhance performance. For example, if someone is used to consuming a low-fat diet and then consumes fat before exercising, they may feel more uncomfortable and lethargic compared to someone who is used to consuming a higher fat diet. Your exercise time, duration and type all have an impact on pre-workout nutrition so it is important to adjust and see what will work best for you and your body.


- The portion size of your meal or snack should get smaller the closer you are to your workout.

- If possible, try and have a good, substantial meal with carbohydrates, protein and fat 3-4 hours before training.

- An hour before exercise, focus more on carbohydrates and proteins. This will help enhance your performance.

- If you are struggling to digest solids an hour before exercise, rather opt for something that is liquid, such as a smoothie.

You may wonder how on earth you are supposed to wake up 3-4 hours before your training session at 5am. As I mentioned above, it is very individualised. There is no need to wake up at 2am to eat a meal, but in circumstances like that rather grab a quick, small snack containing carbohydrates and protein. Just remember to watch out for too much fibre and fat because individuals often feel a bit uncomfortable and bloated or experience gas and stomach discomfort if consumed too close to exercise. If you consume a very big meal, it can take up to 5 hours to digest adequately enough for you to exercise, so if you are planning on exercising in 2 or 3 hours’ time, rather consume a smaller meal.

Here are a few examples of pre-workout meals or snacks:

- Banana with nut butter

- Plain yoghurt with a fruit

- Sliced apple with peanut butter or cottage cheese

- Whole wheat toast with nut butter/cottage cheese/egg/chicken

- Oats with sliced banana, almond butter and milk or yoghurt

- Chicken, rice and vegetables

- Fruit smoothie

- Quinoa with vegetables and chicken/fish

- Sweet potato with chicken / salmon

I hope this will help you in choosing your pre-workout snacks and meals.

Remember to keep active and nourish your body.


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