Sports Nutrition – Before Exercise
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Nutrition Before Exercise or Sport Training

By Andrea Holwegner, Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc.

Here are some ideas to get you fueled and ready to go before going for a workout or training for your sport.

Choose Foods High in Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates are digested quickly so they won’t be sitting in your stomach for a long time.
  • Carbohydrates top up your energy since they are the major fuel for your muscles.
  • Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, and grains such as pasta and rice. Milk products also supply some carbohydrate.

Choose Foods Low in Protein and Fat

  • Protein and fat are digested slowly and may make you feel sluggish and nauseated if you eat them to close to when you will be exercising. Save protein rich foods for after exercise.Protein and fat are found in fast foods, chips, meats, pastries etc.

Choose Foods Low in Fiber

  • Fibre is digested slowly and may cause cramping and lead to a bathroom break during exercise. Save higher fibre foods for after exercise.High fiber foods include bran muffins, beans, high-fiber cereals.

Eat 2-4 hours before exercise or sport training

  • If you are consuming a meal or foods that contain protein, fat, or fibre you will need 2-4 hours to facilitate digestion so you can feel your best during exercise.
  • Some people may be able to eat <2 hours before exercise. Choose smaller amounts of food the closer you get to exercise. Choose mostly carbohydrate rich foods the closer you get to exercise.

Experiment during training and don’t try anything new before a competition!

  • Different foods are successful for different people. The timing, type, and amount of food you should eat is highly variable.

Test out tolerance to fructose and lactose containing foods:

  • Although many people can consume milk products before exercise, some people have difficulty digesting the lactose found in milk products.
  • Although rare, some people get cramps during exercise after eating fructose containing foods (the main sugar found in fruit).

Liquid Assets

  • If you are NOT consuming food, drink a sports drink that contains electrolytes (sodium, potassium etc.) to help you retain water. Alternatively drink plain water with food because food contains electrolytes to help you retain water.
  • Drink 1 cup of fluid 2 hours before exercise, then 1 cup of fluid 30-40 min. before exercise.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Fruit smoothie in the blender with milk, yogurt, banana, berries
  • 100% unsweetened juice box, sports bar
  • Hot/cold cereal, milk, dried fruit
  • Instant breakfast shake
  • Pasta, tomato sauce, salad
  • Sports drink, high carbohydrate energy bar, yogurt
  • Bagel, jam, chocolate milk, veggies
  • Toast, honey, apple sauce
  • Low fat muffin, milk, fruit
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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
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