By Andrea Holwegner BSc, RD “The Chocoholic Dietitian”
Regardless if you are headed out for a short training run, long endurance run or hitting the gym for a workout, you need to understand what to eat before training. Your pre-training nutrition is important to top up your energy for the workout ahead.
There are several important considerations for the pre-workout meal:
Hydrate: Drink fluids throughout your day and be sure to drink at least a half litre to a full litre (two to four cups) of fluid starting four hours before your workout.
Choose carbohydrate rich foods: Carbohydrates should comprise the main part of your pre-training meal. Carbohydrates found in foods such as grains, cereals, breads, fruits and veggies are quick to digest, provide energy for your working muscles and top up your blood sugar.
Have a small amount of protein if eating 2-4 hours before training: In order to sustain energy and fullness, add a source of protein such as meat, poultry, seafood; peanut butter; yogurt/milk, cottage cheese or eggs. Excessive amounts of protein are not ideal if you only have a short amount of time before your workout since protein is slow to digest and may feel heavy in your stomach or cause cramping or bloating.
Avoid high-fat foods: Fat is very slow to digest and won’t top up your muscle fuel. In your pre-training meal skip high-fat foods such as chocolate, chips, fries, greasy burgers, and cream soups.
Watch high-fibre foods: While small amounts of fibre are generally well tolerated, be aware that fibre is slow to digest and may cause stomach upset during a workout without enough time to properly digest.
Timing before your workout: The less time you have, the smaller the amount of food generally tolerated. In general, if you have two or more hours before exercising eat a high carbohydrate meal that is low in fat and has a small amount of protein. If you have less than an hour before your workout stick with a small snack that is mostly carbohydrate.
Sample meal ideas for 2 or more hours before training
- Smoothie with fruit, unsweetened juice and yogurt, milk or protein powder.
- Hot/cold cereal, milk/yogurt and fruit.
- Toast, banana, and peanut butter.
- Toast, egg(s) and juice.
- Sports bar and sports drink.
- Sandwich with turkey/roast beef/ham and veggies.
- Pasta with tomato sauce and a small amount of meat.
- Chicken noodle or vegetable soup with crackers and flavoured tuna.
- Cottage cheese and canned fruit with a low-fat muffin.
- Pasta salad with low-fat dressing, chicken breast and veggies.
Andrea Holwegner is president of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc., media expert for theDietitians of Canada, professional speaker and independent consultant to Jugo Juice. To askAndrea your personal nutrition question, visit the “Ask the Dietitian” section of the Jugo Juicewebsite here:www.jugojuice.com.