When and What to Eat
When and what to eat before a workout

Appropriate eating for exercise

Are you wondering whether what you currently eat is appropriate for the type of exercise you do? Have you ever thought about what you eat before you exercise? Some people who exercise – no matter whether it is a gym session, running, tennis or other type of exercise – eat inappropriately. When and what to eat before a workout can be a mystery, therefore realbuzz.com hope to dispel some of the myths and get you on the right track to eating appropriately for exercising.

The two fuels that the body uses during exercise are carbohydrate and fat; during high and moderate intensity exercise more carbohydrate is used. The body stores carbohydrate in small amounts in the liver and muscles, as glycogen; it is therefore important to make sure that the glycogen stores of the liver and muscles are optimal before exercise as they are depleted during training. The carbohydrate in your diet will provide some energy during exercise mainly from starchy snacks and sugary drinks that you take immediately before and during exercise.

The best advice is to eat a meal three to four hours before exercise and have a small snack just before, ideally between one and two hours before your workout. So, if you plan to go to the gym at 5.30pm, try to have a meal (lunch) at 1.30pm and then a snack at 4pm.

Meal ideas – foods suitable for three to fours hours before exercise:

  • A small jacket potato and baked beans or cottage cheese
  • Six crackers and cottage cheese followed by a piece of fruit
  • Porridge (made with semi-skimmed milk) with a banana and a teaspoon of sugar
  • Rice with vegetables and lean meat
  • Pasta and sauce (for example: low fat tomato and bacon sauce or Bolognese)
  • Two slices of toast, peanut butter and a banana
  • Two weetabix with semi-skimmed milk and a small glass of pure fruit juice
  • A small jacket potato with tuna and reduced fat mayonnaise and a fruit yogurt

Snack ideas – foods suitable for one to two hours before exercise:

  • One slice of toast and jam
  • One small flapjack
  • One slice of fruit cake
  • A piece of fruit
  • Two digestive biscuits
  • A fruit yogurt
  • A cereal bar
  • A small bowl of cereal and semi-skimmed milk
  • A scone