Maximise Your Performance: What to Eat Before You Exercise

One of the most common questions posed to fitness coaches is what should be eaten before exercise. There isn’t a one size fits all answer, as the foods for best performance depend on the goals of the individual exercising as well as their general level of fitness and overall health.

Fitness diet, vitamins and green grassFor those who want a long workout

Whether the intention of the workout is intensity or endurance, some food eaten beforehand will help performance. Without some fuel on board, such exercise could lead to dizziness and fatigue.

Top endurance athletes understand the need to have a morning meal which contains carbohydrates. These are digested and turned into a source of energy in the body. By adding protein, which helps muscles to recover, an intense or stamina testing workout can be tackled safely. A typical breakfast for endurance athletes may include oatmeal with milk, or cereal bars with dried fruit and nuts.

For competition athletes

Maximum performance during competition requires staged food intake: different foods release energy at different rates, and the body digests different foods at different rates, too.

Typically, an athlete will work on a timeframe beginning around 3 to 4 hours before exercise. At this time, a light meal will be eaten, with proteins and carbohydrates important. Bread and bananas, pasta and rice, or beans-on-toast are favourite pre-exercise meals.

Around an hour to two hours before exercise, some fruit, yoghurt, a cereal bar, or fruit smoothie will give the burst of energy the body will need when exercise begins.

As the exercise gets close – less than an hour away – a sports drink or other carbohydrate snack is recommended, though protein, fats, and fibre should be avoided.

Finally, a meal should be taken within an hour of intense exercise finishing, with around 20 grams of protein and a little carbohydrate to aid muscle repair (perhaps baked beans-on-toast with a fruit salad).

This is the sort of valuable information that trainee fitness coaches learn when they take an Onfit fitness training course. If you’d like to know more about our fitness career training, feel free to contact us today.