What to Eat Before Your Workout

Knowing what to eat before your workout, whatever time of day you choose to do it, will enhance your performance and help you get more out of your session. Here’s what to eat and when.

If you work out first thing

What you eat before and after your workouts is a personal choice and while some people prefer to work out on an empty stomach, some find it easier to have something light beforehand. If that’s you, aim to keep it light as heavy foods can make you feel sluggish. You’ll also need to allow your body enough time to digest whatever you choose so bear that in mind if you’re planning an early session; eating around 60 minutes beforehand is optimum. A protein shake is a great way to get a dose of all-important protein, plus it’s not too heavy, try Workshop’s Organic Chocolate Pea Protein Formula blended with a banana, milk of your choice and a handful of ice. If you’re aiming for a super early start, then you may not feel like eating too much at all. In that case, fulfil your protein quota with a helping of BCAAs in the form of Workshop’s Essential BCAA Powder. It contains four of the amino acids found in animal protein and so is a quick and easy way to consume what you need to get the best out of your training.

If you work out mid-morning

Working out at this time means you might be more inclined to eat a more substantial breakfast. Something like unsweetened porridge and fruit is a good option as oats are complex carbs that are broken down slowly, allowing for more sustained energy throughout the day. Alternatively, something like cottage cheese and wholegrain crackers or hard-boiled egg on sourdough toast are good options that will provide enough fuel to support your session.

If you work out in the afternoon

Complex carbs, protein and healthy fats should make up your pre-workout lunch if you’re opting for a session in the afternoon. This combination can significantly help improve your workout as it helps raise the neurotransmitters in the brain which increase focus, drive and motivation. Something like eggs, leafy greens and pulses is ideal. Again, timing is everything so aim to eat your meal at least 90 minutes before you exercise to give your body enough time to digest everything, and whatever you do, steer clear of so-called energy bars which often contain huge amounts of sugar. Rather than help your performance, you’ll probably find they’ll hinder it thanks to the sugar crash you’ll inevitably get after eating one.

If you work out in the evening

If you’re planning on a session afterwork then you’re likely to be looking at an energising snack rather than a full meal before your workout. The priority here is to make sure the muscles are fuelled before training and recovered after, especially if it’s an intense session. Something like full fat yoghurt with fruit and nuts or a banana with nut butter are good options. It’s just as important to make sure you eat after your workout too, regardless of the time you finish you need foods that will aid and support your recovery; protein also helps fight infection, balance body fluids and carry oxygen through your body so it’s a vital part of your post-workout recovery in general. If you work out later on, eating carbs at the end of the day can help you to fall asleep, which is another big part of your recovery. Carbs send a signal to release the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is a feel-good brain chemical; something like potatoes and rice with some protein like chicken or fish will not only help your sleep but support your post workout recovery too.