How to Fuel Your Workouts?

How to Fuel Your Workouts?

As a personal trainer, I often get asked what the best foods to eat before a workout are.

Eating too much you can risk getting a stitch and feeling sluggish in the gym OR eating too little can mean that you do not have enough energy to perform at your best!

Choosing the correct meal before you exercise can help you to see more progress from your sessions and it can also help you to recover quicker too!

Everyone is different and we all train in different ways. Some people like quick high intense workouts whereas other people enjoy going for long runs! Although there are different ways to fuel individual workouts, the following tips should help any athlete feel great during their session!

Fasted Workouts

Fasted cardio has become increasingly popular recently. The idea behind fasted cardio, is that you train on an empty stomach. The theory is that you are more likely to burn through your fat stores, so this is great if you are looking to lose weight! Personally, I just find it easier to do my cardio early in the morning and save my energy for my weights session later in the day!

Therefore, if you are looking to train fasted: I would recommend having the following:

  • A black coffee with a teaspoon of coconut oil – this is great for giving you energy

  • A BCAA drink – this is great for maintaining muscle mass and is full of protein too. I drink this no matter what time I train before or during my workout to give me energy and it tastes nice too!

30 minutes before a workout

If you only have 30 minutes to an hour before you work out, ideally you should aim to choose a simple carbohydrate. These digest quickly, giving your body a burst of energy, without bloating you or giving you a stitch.

Ideal options would be:

  • A banana – bananas are full of natural sugar and potassium to help you recover

  • Apple wedges with peanut butter

  • An orange – oranges are refreshing and will give your body a hit of fast acting sugar! This is why footballers often have oranges before a match

  • Soya yogurt

  • Dates – dates are great if you are really lacking energy as the sugar gets into your blood straight after eating

  • Protein shake – shakes are very quick and convenient and they will help to maintain muscle mass as well as aiding recovery.

2-3 hours before a workout

Here you can choose complex carbohydrates, which will keep you feeling full and will slowly release energy for your body. I also like to add a pinch of salt, as the sodium will help fight against nasty cramps!

  • Oats with blueberries and a scoop of protein – this makes a great breakfast

  • Meat replacement with white potatoes – a great combo of protein and carbohydrates

  • Wholemeal bread with peanut butter

  • Bagel topped with hummus/ avocado and tomato

  • Tofu stir fry with rice – great to have for lunch if you are training after work

  • Rice cakes with your favourite topping

  • Homemade protein balls/ nakd bar / flapjack

Above all else, remember to stay hydrated both before and during your workout!


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