How To Fuel Up Before Your Workout
Whatever your motivation for working out – health, pleasure, training for a goal or a reluctant attempt to live better - make sure the time you spend exercising is worthwhile by preparing well beforehand. Achieving your personal best is a holistic process that starts before you put your runners on, and a key part of this is nutrition. Jacinta Radziejewski, our Swisse Clinical Nutritionist, shares her top tips below to help you get the most out of your workout.
Eat well for energy
Your body needs food to convert to energy and to help build muscle mass. However, it’s important to be mindful of the type of food you eat and when you consume it, as it has the potential to leave you feeling sluggish or cause digestive issues. Jacinta says fueling your body starts with the meal you consume the night before you exercise, at which time you should consider consuming wholegrain carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables to boost glycogen stores.
“Before a workout, make sure you allow a main meal three to four hours to digest and a snack about one to two hours. Try to avoid raw foods, as they need a lot of digestive capacity, which is limited during exercise,” Jacinta explains.
“Ideally, consume a carbohydrate paired with a protein. The process of carbohydrate digestion encourages protein uptake into your cells, including muscle cells, to help restore, repair and build lean muscle. These carbohydrates will also provide a burst of glucose into the bloodstream for your body to utilise before tapping into your glycogen energy stores. Foods high in natural nitric oxide are also valuable to consume pre-exercise. They oxygenate your muscles for increased cardio and muscle output, enhancing your workout efforts.”
Your pre-workout snack guide
Jacinta’s favourite snacks before exercise include:
- Sourdough bread or rice cakes topped with nut butter and sliced banana or fresh strawberries (providing a balance of protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes and healthy fat).
- A hard boiled egg and a quarter of an avocado on a slice of sourdough bread (providing protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat). Squeeze lemon juice on top of the avocado to aid digestion.
- Unsweetened yoghurt with a quarter of a cup of toasted, sugar-free muesli (providing protein, carbohydrates, natural sugars and electrolytes).
- Half a cup of brown rice or half a cup of steamed sweet potato with either canned tuna or sardines (providing protein along with complex carbohydrates for a slow release of energy).
- Dark chocolate with sliced fruit and nut butter (providing antioxidants and nitric oxide for an enhanced workout and recovery, combined with natural sugars and protein from the fruit).
According to Jacinta, always ensure your body is hydrated from the minute you wake up in the morning to the moment your head hits the pillow at night. At least an hour before you exercise, you should increase your water intake to more frequent sips to ensure adequate hydration.
“Sip water throughout the day, rather than drinking large amounts at one time. Sipping helps increase cellular uptake, while overloading in one go disturbs the electrolyte balance in your body, which can lead to fluid retention and may have a negative impact on recovery.”
Jacinta recommends alkaline water, as this balances the pH level of your digestive system, increases metabolism and allows for proper utilisation of the nutrients and minerals that you’ve consumed. Consider adding fruit and herbs to your water as they offer natural sugars and electrolytes.
“Increasing hydration levels – without overdoing it - is imperative for the overall optimal function of your body, which includes delivering nutrients to cells, increasing detoxification to help your body rid itself of toxins and waste, regulating your body temperature and -importantly for exercise - lubricating your joints,” Jacinta summarises.
If you want to boost your energy levels pre-workout, consider Swisse Active Prepare, available in convenient powder sticks which just need to be added to water. Formulated with B-vitamins and caffeine, it is easy to consume on-the-go and helps support sustained energy levels.
To be consumed in conjunction with a nutritious diet and exercise program. Not a sole source of nutrition.