What should I eat & drink before a workout?

  • Popular questions I get asked a lot as a coach. 

What should I eat before I train?

How long before I train should I eat?

How much water should I drink when I’m training?

In todays blog I will answer these questions to enable your workouts to be fuelled correctly and your hydration levels to be tip top.

If you are a regular gym/Crossfit goer, and I mean user of weights and participator of intense exercise this blog is definitely one for you to read.

Fuelling your body for a workout can really make the difference in the output during your workout and overall energy levels post workout.  You maybe surprised that this post isn’t just about “food” – there is so much more that goes into a successful session in the gym, so please take all points into consideration when planning your training.

 

1.      Don’t cut carbs!

If you have eaten carbs (heavy carbs) with your evening meal the night before training, and you are training first thing in the morning you could have protein and fats to train on as your body will use the carbs from the night before. 

 

If you are training later in the day, I recommend a mixed meal 3-4 hours before training (protein, fat and carbs) and a banana just before your session.

 

2.      Get your Protein on point

 

Protein is by far the most important of the macros if you are looking to build lean muscle and lose body fat. Making sure you are eating enough protein overall will help to fuel your workouts and repair your muscles after training.  I would recommend approx. 0.4-0.5g of protein per kilo of body weight before training.   For example, I weigh 70kg’s so I would aim to take on between 28-35 grams of protein approx. 3 hours before training.

 

3.      Check your hydration levels

As coaches we literally bang on about hydration and water all the time, but I cannot stress enough to you the importance of hydration not only for training but for everyday life too!  Here’s some water tips for you to try and add into your daily routine.

 

·         Drink 1 pint of water upon waking, whilst you are getting ready for your day.

·         Aim to consume AT LEAST 24ml per kg of bodyweight - this is the amount you need WITHOUT exercising.  So at 70kg, my water intake without exercise should be approx. 1700ml per day.

·         Take on an additional 500ml for every 30-60minutes of exercise you do

·         Buy yourself a bottle that you can fill up where ever you go, if its got the amount of ml on the side even better, you can just keep measuring and counting the litres throughout the day.

·         If you don’t like the taste of plain old boring water chop up some citrus fruit, cucumber or berries and add them to your water bottle. This way you get the taste of the fruit minus the added sugar.

 

Remember exercise places a stress upon the body, and we lose minerals from sweat.  Using an electrolyte drink during your workouts can help replace lost minerals and give you the extra hydration boost you need.  I personally use awesome supplements electrolytes during intense crossfit sessions.  Ive checked out the label and yes, it contains sugar, but its minimal. It does also contain vital minerals that will be lost in training so this is an all round great – inexpensive option for those that need a boost.

Alternatively to this you can buy electrolyte tablets, which do the same thing. Just be mindful to check ingredients and food labels before doing so.

I definitely would NOT recommend Lucozade, red bull, flavoured water or anything that contains a lot of sugar, sweeteners E-numbers etc…..

4.      Sleep

Never underestimate the power of sleep! It may sound daft but you could be eating the right portions at the right times, you could be really hydrated but if your only getting 5-6 hours of poor quality sleep each night your hormones will be affected, you may start to crave excessive carbs and your energy will be lower.  Getting 7-8 hours of good quality sleep (so getting to sleep before 10.30pm) is optimal. The later we go to sleep the poorer the sleep quality.

5.      Recipe ideas:

 

Carbs/Fat/Protein

  • Wholegrain toast, mashed avocado, poached egg, spinach
  • Overnight oats with protein powder, almond milk, blueberries, tsp nut butter (this could be blended to make a shake if short on time)
  • Scrambled egg & wholegrain toast

Carbs/Protein·        

  • Chicken & Rice (season chicken with spices)
  • Protein shake with added berries and oats
  • Omelette made with egg whites, (add ham & spinach) sweet potato

Protein/Fat & Veggie carbs

  • Salmon, avocado & spinach
  • Beef steak, spinach & asparagus (add butter to the veggies)
  • 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites omelette (use ham, mushrooms, spinach, sprinkle of cheese) serve with green vegetables