Health and Beauty

What do we eat before sports training?

Exercise performance depends on many factors. This includes your overall health, fitness level, proper warm-up… plus another factor we don't talk about often: the foods you eat before your workout.

In fact, what you eat right before you go to work out (the popular pre-workout meal for English speakers) can either give you extra energy or slow you down. After reading this article, you'll know exactly what to eat (and what not to eat) before your next bodybuilding, CrossFit, or other strength training session.

First, why is it important to eat a snack before exercise?

  • Consuming the right nutrients before exercise will improve your performance, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your muscle recovery.
  • It can prevent a rapid drop in blood sugar levels during training (the burn: you will need to choose a snack with a low glycemic index to gradually release sugar into the blood).
  • A pre-workout snack will give you the energy you need to prolong your effort and make it more intense.

What is the ideal pre-workout meal?

A typical meal before a sports session.
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While the correct answer to this question depends on your personal fitness goals, as a general rule, it is recommended to stick to foods that are easy to digest, low in fat, moderate in protein, and high in complex carbohydrates. For example, the popular sweet potato rice with turkey or chicken, with easy-to-digest vegetables. So we forget about the cabbage that we can eat in the next meal, and prefer cooked vegetables such as carrots, zucchini or green beans.

It is preferable to eat a full meal at least 3 hours before exercise.

Sometimes you may not be able to eat this meal 2-3 hours before your session. In this case, you can always eat a snack before working out. However, keep in mind that the closer you eat to your workout, the smaller and easier your meal will be to digest.

If you eat 45 to 60 minutes before exercise, choose the foods or snacks below in small amounts (this will avoid any digestive discomfort during exercise).

Pre-workout snacks

banana

This fruit is an excellent source of carbohydrates and is rich in potassium, which enhances muscle function and can prevent cramping during exercise. However, any fruit (apples, berries, or pears) makes a good, easy-to-digest pre-workout snack.

Greek yogurt with fruits

Greek yogurt is rich in protein, and combined with fresh fruits, it makes a balanced pre-workout snack that will provide you with a long-lasting source of energy during your high-intensity exercise sessions.

oatmeal

While it's true that oatmeal can take some time to digest (so be sure to eat it at least an hour before exercise), it also contains a type of soluble fiber, beta-glucan, which slows the absorption of carbohydrates over several hours. This will make you feel full longer, and provide you with energy for a longer period of time.

Peanut butter sandwich

Peanut butter is rich in protein, carbohydrates and fat. However, be sure to choose a version with no added sugar and pair it with a slice of whole wheat bread. Peanut butter is high in calories, but a small amount of peanut butter on toast is enough to give you the energy you need.

Dried fruit

A handful of dried fruits can be especially effective and convenient on the go. Try a combination of almonds, dried cranberries, walnuts, and apricots for a healthy dose of carbs that will keep you going during your workout.

Cereals

Cereal with milk is a quick and easy pre-workout snack. You can also add fruit for an extra boost of nutrients. Choose fiber-rich muesli without added sugar. Avoid puffed cereals that are high in sugar, which may cause you to feel tired mid-workout.

Nutritious pieces

Example: A snack before sports training
Cereal bars are easy to transport and quick to eat, and are a good choice to fuel you before exercise.
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Energy bars are intended for athletes and athletes who need to store “fuel” before and during their physical exertion. Consumed before exercise, these bars can help boost performance and improve muscle recovery. However, check the nutritional information beforehand and choose those that do not contain added sugar. Among the most popular categories are almond pastes, fruit pastes, rice bars (derived from rice cakes), and cereal bars. Some of these bars are rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins. Again, check food labels carefully!

egg

Eggs are low in calories, full of protein, and rich in good fats that will give you energy during training. However, don't eat them too close to exercise, as this may lead to stomach upset. The ideal time to consume eggs is one to two hours before a fitness session.

Useful nutritional supplements before a weight training session

Caffeine

Drinking black coffee before exercise has been shown to burn more calories during training, improve focus, and enhance muscular endurance. Remember that it may affect your sleep if taken too close to bedtime and may cause anxiety in some people.

Creatine

Creatine is a nutritional supplement that has been shown to improve performance, especially during strength training and high-intensity exercise. Other ingredients included in the pre-workout formula, such as beta-alanine and BCAAs, can be consumed.

Whatever pre-workout snack or supplement you choose, remember that it's essential to stay hydrated while exercising.

Protein drink

Whey protein bodybuilding pre workout
If your goal is to gain muscle, whey protein doesn't work miracles, but it can give you a boost.
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They allow better synthesis of muscle proteins(1) Before exercise.

A whey shake can be consumed 30 minutes before a workout, but remember that if you have a sensitive stomach, you should give yourself plenty of time to digest your pre-workout drink.

If you're lactose intolerant or follow a diet free of animal products, choose a pea and rice protein shake.

Foods to avoid before training

Bean

Sure, they're packed with nutrients, but their fiber content can wreak havoc on your stomach mid-workout.

Cruciferous vegetables

They are also very rich in fiber (broccoli, cabbage, bok choy) and contain sulfur compounds that can cause gas in some cases.

Fried foods

clearly. French fries, hamburgers, fried chicken, etc. They all contain saturated fats that stay in your digestive system for a long time and can cause bloating, pain, and even diarrhea.

Soft drinks

We're not just talking about sugary drinks. Bubbles, even in a simple glass of lemonade or sparkling water, can cause discomfort which could get you into trouble during exercise.

What do we eat before sports training?

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