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Pre workout snacks – Fuel up!

Pre workout snacks – Fuel up!


So the other day I was desperate for a workout which I hadn’t planned because it was meant to be rest day (!) and I just had a mug of black coffee and went for it. Long story short it wasn’t the best workout I’ve ever  had because I failed to have a decent pre workout snack. Im usually really particular about this because for me it’s the deciding factor in how well my session goes.


Today’s blog post is all about the importance of pre workout snacks and how long before you workout you should have them to provide your body with the best fuel to push your body to its limits.


Pre workout snacks shouldn’t make you feel heavy and full but it is still important to eat/drink some thing. Exercising on an empty stomach can lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue – it is converted to glucose to provide you with the energy you need which isn’t good, whether you are trying to build muscle or lose weight. In the long term this simply slows your metabolism down and is detrimental for your fitness journey.


What about fasted cardio? If you love to wake up first thing in the morning and have a crazy sweat session you’re probably eating breakfast post – workout. If your goal is weight loss – then you may actually be better off having a snack before your workout. It will improve your performance and ensure that you have enough energy throughout to complete it effectively.


There is research that shows  working out on an empty stomach uses up your fat stores for energy but this is a mere 200-400 calories, whereas if you snack and then workout you will have a more intensive workout, thus ensuring that your body burns even more calories over the course of the day.


The end goal is that your workouts should be about improved performance, and your food should be about altering body fat levels.


Even though you burn more fat in the short term by skipping the pre workout snack, in the long term if it lowers your performance; it stops you building muscle and therefore limits your fat loss potential.


Time your pre work out snack right – if you are eating two to three hours prior to your workout you will have time for your food to digest and be absorbed therefore you can eat a meal containing a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fats. However, within one hour of a workout , you should eat something that digested and absorbed quickly otherwise you will feel sluggish and heavy during your workout.


Examples of great pre workout snacks include:


  • Protein shake with frozen fruit
  • Apple or banana
  • Greek yoghurt and fruit / smoothies
  • A bowl of natural yoghurt with some fruit and topped with nuts


The intensity of your workout is important when deciding on pre workout snacks. For example a 30 minute walk doesn’t require a snack because this is the ideal time to burn of the lunch you had earlier. Similarly, you don’t want to have eaten a massive meal close to a HIIT session because your body needs that energy for performance not for digesting all that food.  So don’t use pre workouts as an excuse to gorge no matter how healthy the snack is.


For maximum performance, two to three hours before a medium intensity workout, you could eat a complex meal like a grilled chicken breast, a side of baked sweet potato chips and a green salad. However, if you  are doing the same workout within one to two hours, then you’re better off having a snack like the ones I mentioned about.


When you exercise, the point of it should be to build muscle, continually improve your performance and boost your metabolism so that you are constantly burning fat. When you eat, you should be eating clean, and providing your body with the necessary fuel to give you energy and lower your body fat. That’s why starving yourself, eating ‘dirty’ and irregularly are not going to give you the results you want.  My advice? Eat well, eat clean and train even harder. The more nutritious food you give your body the harder it will push itself when you workout and the quicker the results will come.



About the author

Meera Vadgama

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