The following is an article I wrote back in August 2018. I get the question: “Coach Don what should I eat before a workout?” so often that I thought this article deserved a reprint. So, for those new to the gym, and the veterans, here is “What to Eat Before a Workout.”
As always, I try to take a topic that has been a hot-button issue at the gym or one that members, in general, find attractive. Overwhelmingly this month that topic has been; what should I eat before my workouts. I covered this briefly before in our 2018 Open prep clinic “Fueling for the Open,” but Just in case you missed it, or weren’t a part of the Cypher family yet, this article is for you. Here are some suggestions on what to eat before a workout and why.
If you have ever gotten sick, dizzy or lightheaded during a workout, then these problems could stem from what you put, or don’t put, in your stomach. From this point on, consider it a given that you should eat before your workout; now what and when is what follows.
1. 1 Tbsp Almond Butter, Cinnamon-Raisin Ezekiel bread and 1/3 of a banana.
If you are an hour or more out from your workout, then almond butter toast is a great option to fuel your next workout. Usually, you don’t want a lot of fat sitting in your stomach before a workout, but Almonds are versatile and come with protein as well. The Ezekiel bread is a low-glycemic bread made without preservative that when paired with a portion of banana should provide you with more than enough carbs for your workout. If you are a big eater like me, and your stomach can handle it, try adding a teaspoon of hemp seeds for protein and chia seeds for omega-3 fatty acids.
2. NonFat Greek Yogurt or Oikos triple Zero Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is an excellent choice if you are close to your workout time. I’m talking about 20-30 minutes before. When you’re eating anything that closes to a workout I prescribe to an old saying we use to throw around in college during 4:30 AM swim workouts; “It has to go down the same way it comes up.” The same holds true for yogurt. While it is crucial to get nonfat, if you are eating at a higher calorie range then feel free to add some crushed walnuts or chia seeds. Pro tip: choose plain yogurt and flavor it by crushing up fresh fruit into the yogurt with a spoon.
3. Protein Bars
I love protein bars because they are the most convenient of convenience food. Barring you can get one that isn’t just a candy bar in disguise, they are good for you as well. Rx bars and Go Macro bars are killing the game in this respect, but there are others out there so do your research. Another piece of advice: You don’t have to eat the whole thing! Some protein bars are close to 300 calories. Eat half and save the other half for next time.
4. Apple Sauce
For me, Applesauce is the best pre-workout snack you’re likely not using. Yes, the snack you save for the kid’s lunch can also save you when you’re in a pre-workout pinch. Applesauce is so amazing because you can have it right up against one of your workouts. I’ve even slurped down a snack pack size of one as I’m stretching and felt fine during the workout.
5. Protein Shake with water
Then there’s old fateful—the protein shake. There’s nothing wrong with downing a quick protein shake before a workout. It has the right combination of protein and carbohydrates you need to fuel your workouts. A great idea to help prevent an upset stomach is to make it with water if you usually have it with milk or a nut milk alternative. Water will be a little more natural on the stomach. A shake is also a snack you can have 10-15 minutes before a workout.
To Your Continued Success,