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Eat Properly Before Training

Eating at least 3 – 4 hours before a training session gives you enough time to digest and absorb your food.  However if you want to get up and work out early in the morning, it doesn’t make sense to eat this far in advance.  So what is the answer?

You definitely need nutrition before working out otherwise you won’t have enough energy to get the full benefit of exercising.  Strive to eat 1 – 2 hours before your workout.

For a meal 3 – 4 hours before exercising here are some suggestions:

  • Two boiled eggs with whole grain toast
  • Cereal with milk
  • Porridge
  • Yoghurt with fruit
  • Toast with jam, honey or peanut butter
  • Baked beans with toast

For a snack 1 – 2 hours before working out:

  • Protein, sports or cereal bar
  • Fruit
  • Yoghurt
  • Cereal with milk
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Liquid meal-supplement (eg. Sustagen)

If you have less than an hour between getting up and working out, you still need some nutrition to break the nightly fast.  In this case you can have a banana, a sports drink, sports bar, or a glass of fresh 100% fruit juice.  This will give you enough energy to benefit from your workout.

Everyone needs to determine for themselves what works best.  Several factors that affect people differently are the amount of food, the kind of food we’re eating and the timing of the meal or snack. If you are going to exercise vigorously then large amounts of food ahead of time are not recommended because you risk having discomfort in your stomach due to the movement.  So in this case a less intensive workout, like cycling would be better because your body would be supported by the bicycle.

A good alternative would be to include low GI foods like multigrain bread or toast, oranges or yoghurt.  These foods will release glucose slowly throughout your workout session which will give you enough energy to last.  If you are prone to drinking sports drinks or eating sports bars it’s important to read the labels first in order to avoid excessive amounts of sugar, salt and additives.

If you eat too much before working out you can end up feeling sluggish or even get stomach cramps.  But eating too lightly can make you feel weak and depleted without enough energy to finish your workout.

Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids if you want to receive the full benefit of your session.  And it’s best to eat again right after your session, or at least within a half-hour.

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Keeping fit and healthy shouldn't be a chore. In fact, exercise should be a regular part of life just like brushing our teeth. Fitstyler helps you create healthy habits. We make it easy to look good and feel great, just by showing you simple changes you can make to what you eat and how often you exercise.

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