The Basics: Pre-Workout Nutrition

What to eat before (and after) a workout is a question thrown around in the health and wellness space all the time. We’ve debunked the notion that carbs are bad in a previous post, The Case For Carbs, and the importance of carbs becomes even more crucial in relation to pre and post-workout nutrition.

We use carbs as fuel during exercise, so making sure we’re well stocked is key to keeping our energy levels up during a workout. Having a small snack 1 hour, or as close as 30 minutes, before a workout can be helpful. If your workout falls about 1-2.5 hours after a main meal, you likely don’t need a snack prior. Likewise, if your workout is light or moderate in intensity, like a long leisurely walk, you probably don’t need any extra fuel if you’re already eating at regular intervals throughout the day.

So what carb sources should you grab pre-workout? Think fruit (fresh or dried – no sugar added), veggies (starchy ones like sweet potatoes are great!), whole grains, beans and legumes. It may take some trial and error to figure out what’s the right pre-workout combo for you. Some people find they can tolerate a carb source plus some healthy fats (i.e. apple & peanut butter) prior, and others may find that the fat source leaves them feeling a bit weighed down. In this instance, you may consider moving your pre-workout snack up to give yourself more time to properly digest the food or just skip the peanut butter all together.

Need an on-the-go pre-workout snack? The Booster Bites from E & Rose Wellness (pictured above) are a perfect example of pre-workout fuel. Not only are you getting a little buzz from the espresso beans, but they’re a good source of carbohydrates from dates, as well as fat and protein from cashews and hemps seeds. An added bonus are the mushroom powders – chaga, lion’s mane, and cordyceps!

Grab some Booster Bites for a quick portable snack, or DIY with my Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter Bites. Happy Sweating!

Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter Bites

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 C ROLLED/OLD FASHIONED OATS

  • 3/4 C UNSWEETENED SHREDDED COCONUT

  • 1 SCOOP CHOCOLATE COLLAGEN, CHOCOLATE PROTEIN POWDER OR 2-3 T CACAO POWDER

  • 1 T GROUND FLAXSEED

  • 1/2 C ALMOND BUTTER

  • 1/4 C MAPLE SYRUP/HONEY/AGAVE

  • 1 T CACAO NIBS OR MINI CHCOCOLATE CHIPS

DIRECTIONS

  1. COMBINE ALL INGREDIENTS EXCEPT CACAO NIBS IN A MEDIUM SIZE BOWL. FOLD IN CACAO NIBS UNTIL EVENLY DISPERSED.

  2. PLACE IN THE REFRIGERATOR FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES TO GET THE “DOUGH” TO HARDEN.

  3. REMOVE FROM REFRIGERATOR AND ROLL INTO 1” BITE SIZE BALLS — MAKES ABOUT 20.


Author: Lara Harris, MS, RD, LD, registered dietitian and owner of The Well Fed Guide, LLC.

Lara Harris, MS, RD, LD