You need energy to spend energy. It’s obvious, you will tell me! Depending on what you eat before exercising and the time you have to digest it, your body can become short on fuel, which will hinder its performance. How can you choose the best pre-workout snack?
First, make sure to hydrate properly before. It is recommended to drink between 400 and 600 ml of water 1 to 3 hours before performing a physical activity. Also, depending on the time lapse between your workout and your last meal, some nutrients will have to be prioritized.
You need to know that your last meal will influence your performance. A meal eaten more than 3 hours prior to your training session should be composed of a good proportion of carbohydrates, because they are the body’s main source of fuel, so choose starches (about 1/3 of the plate) such as pasta, rice, or quinoa, vegetables (1/3 of the plate), and one source of protein (1/3 of the plate) that will fill you up, such as fish, poultry, or lean meats (about the size of a deck of cards). This meal should not be fried and contain no fat sauces, because a large quantity of lipids slows down digestion.
If your workout starts in 2 or 3 hours and you haven’t eaten since your last meal:
- Your snack should contain one food rich in protein (1 piece of cheese, 250 of milk, 175 ml of yogurt, 1 egg, meat or poultry or fish (the size of a half deck of cards), and one source of carbohydrates (a fruit, a slice of bread, 125 of cereals, a granola bar, etc.), in variable quantities depending on the length and intensity of your activity as well as your physical condition. For example, a Kashi bar with a peach, or 125 ml of Life Multigrains cereals with 250 ml of vanilla soya drink could be interesting options.
If your workout starts in 1 or 2 hours and you haven’t eaten since your last meal:
- Favourize a snack composed of carbohydrates. For people who digest quickly or if you are really hungry at that moment, a small quantity of protein could be needed (about 4 g). For example, 125 ml of yogurt with a fruit, 60 of cottage cheese with 250 ml of raspberries, or 125 of vanilla soya drink with a banana.
If you haven’t eaten since your last meal and your workout is in 30 minutes or less, choose a source of carbs with no fiber, which slows down digestion. My favourite choice is unsweetened applesauce, because it provides the body with readily available energy. Otherwise, 2 kiwis, 175 of fresh grapes, or 125 ml of juice could also be appropriate.
And you, what is your favourite pre-workout snack?
By Marilyne Petitclerc