Pre-gym snack = Better workout + muscles!
A rookie mistake that many women make when they’re heading to do a marathon session at the gym or starting a home workout is not eating. Most of the time you’ll complete the workout just fine. However food is many things and the most important it is, is fuel. You are immediately putting yourself at a disadvantage by not eating before a workout.
What your body wants
There are 3 major nutrients that your body needs: Carbs, Protein, Fat. Each nutrient has its own important purpose.
In the first 15 mins of the workout your body is using carbs for energy. Between 30-60 mins the body is using carbs and fat for energy, beginning the fat burning stage of the workout.
Who Wants Muscle loss? Not You!
Before a workout it’s important to eat some protein as well as carbohydrates too. Protein is the slowest nutrient to digest of all the other macro-nutrients so it prevents hunger during exercise. It also acts as minimal source of energy during physical activity. Most importantly, nourishing your body with a bit of protein will prevent it from enacting revenge and breaking down the muscles you worked so hard to build.
Pre Workout Snacks
I would always recommend having a pre workout snack so that your body has fuel to run on. I have had to put into practise my first aid qualification to revive many ill-prepared exercisers who didn’t eat prior to working out.
4 hours before a workout:
You want complex carbs that will slowly release when you need them. Complex carbs are most suited for the rest of the meals as they are digested slower and are less likely to make you hangry.
30 minutes before a workout:
If you didn’t get a chance to eat a meal, you want some simple (YET HEALTHY) carbs that are going to be digested quickly and used for the workout.
Short for time: smoothies digest quicker than meals and deliver that energy boost
[Quick to digest]
[Slower to digest]
• Dried fruit i.e. Raisins
• Rice cakes
• Wholemeal pasta, bread, noodles, rice
• Sweet potato
• White potato
(yes you can eat a white potato)
Cardio Bunny’s Pre Workout Snack
For the days where you transform into a cardio bunny:
i.e. your workout consists of steady state/moderate intensity cardio which lasts more than 30 minutes.
- heavy carbs – give you energy
- protein – stop your body losing muscle
- Hummus and pita
- Peanut butter and bagel
- Banana and nuts
- Rice, chicken breast, avocado
Lifting Lady’s (and HIIT Queens) Pre Workout Snack
Muscle making sessions: Strength / Resistance training:
i.e. intense bodyweight, kettlebells, dumbbells lasting between 30-60 minutes
- Carbs are important but less essential
- Protein and fat needed – preventing body losing muscle as muscle tissue is being used.
- Ideal meal 40% carbs, 30% protein and fat 30%
- Tablespoon of peanut butter, cup of blueberries, greek yoghurt
- Apple and table spoon of almond butter
- Protein shake with fruit
- Turkey breast, sweet potato, kale, 1/2 tablespoon butter
Before you shy away from eating a pre-workout snack or meal, remember that food has a function. It is not extra calories you should save on. It’s not about limiting one nutrient and gorging on another. It’s about getting a balance so you can get the most out of your workouts and get closer to your exercise goals. Whether it’s working out to maintain or achieve a healthier, stronger or leaner body. Think of protein as your muscle’s safety net: protein helps prevent muscles breaking down and carbs are used as fuel to energise your body in a workout.