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The best pre-workout meal

We often hear about the best snacks, or the best foods to eat before a workout. However, when it is time to eat a complete meal and your workout is less than 4 hours away, chances are you will not have another snack before. This meal will therefore be the source of fuel that will determine how smoothly your workout will proceed.

The composition of that meal will vary depending on the time lapse between your meal and your workout.

Period Optimal choice
5 hours Regular meal
3 to 4 hours Regular meal (no frying or fatty sauce)
2 to 3 hours One food rich in protein, and 3-6 foods rich in carbohydrates
2 hours 1/2 food rich in protein, and 2-4 foods rich in carbohydrates
1 hour 2-3 foods rich in carbohydrates
30 minutes 1-2 foods rich in carbohydrates

When there is two hours or less left before a workout, beware of proteins, fats, and fiber. Indeed, these three elements slow down gastric emptying, which means that the foods that you eat will not be digested before you start your workout, and thus, the energy will not be available as fuel. It is therefore necessary to limit your consumption of meat and alternatives, milk products, and whole grain products.

Here are a few examples of meals, depending on the time you have to digest:

3 hours before: One chicken skewer (90 g) with 125-250 ml quinoa salad, asparagus, and grilled sweet peppers. Add a fruit if you are still hungry.

2 hours before: One tuna salad tortilla with a sauce made from plain yogurt, and a carrot pottage. Add unsweetened applesauce if you are still hungry.

1 hour before: Unsweetened fruit compote with one Barbara fig bar (according to your hunger).

30 minutes before: Unsweetened fruit compote (with 125 ml fruit juice, according to your hunger).

Bon appétit!

By Marilyne Petitclerc

Marilyne Petitclerc

Holder of a degree in nutrition from Université Laval, Marilyne has worked as a nutritionist for Nautilus Plus since 2010. Passionate about healthy eating and sports nutrition, she also gives lectures and hosts cooking workshops. With her clients, Marilyne makes extensive use of the instinct diet approach and the Mediterranean diet model. Furthermore, she has attended classes on live nutrition at the Hippocrates Health Institute. Maryline ran the Quebec City Marathon des Deux Rives - Half Marathon in 2010 and 2012. She also took part in the Staircase Challenge, another event held in Quebec City in June 2012. Marilyne also plays in an Ultimate Frisbee league and trains regularly at the Nautilus Plus branch where she is employed.

The best pre-workout meal is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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