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For many athletes and fitness enthusiasts, the desire to achieve their goals leads them to seek an edge, whether it’s through new workout routines or nutrition. The latter especially can be a good place to start, as eating well helps the body recover faster and perform better. By consuming the right types of food before a workout, individuals can gain the most from their sessions.

The choice of pre-workout snack (or meal) to consume can sometimes be a struggle but is often worth the effort. As Bernard McGowan – a qualified personal trainer – knows all too well, proper nutrition is vital as this is what provides fuel for the body during a workout.

Also, exercising on an empty stomach can cause dizziness, nausea or lethargy that increases the risk of injury. Even if none of these symptoms occur, not eating before exercising can also impact performance.

Proper Timing

The timing of a pre-workout meal is important as it ensures the body has the right amount of energy for the session. For maximum results, eating a complete meal at least two to three hours before exercising is recommended. However, this may not always be possible, so eating a smaller and simpler meal between 45 and 60 minutes prior to a workout is also sufficient. For such meals, opt for easily digestible foods.

Stay Hydrated

Maintaining sufficient levels of hydration is essential to a good workout. While there isn’t a single approach to determining fluid needs, drinking water two to three hours before exercising and about half an hour before a session starts is encouraged. The goal is to stay hydrated without drinking too much, which can also impact performance.

Pre-Workout Carbs

Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy for the body, primarily because they are converted to glycogen reserves that are stored in the muscles and liver. For shorter exercises that incorporate high-intensity exercises, these glycogen reserves are the primary energy source. However, these reserves are also limited; for longer exercise regimens, a reduction in glycogen levels can lead to decreased intensity and performance. Loading up on carbs in the days before a long workout is a tested method of maximising the body’s energy reserves.

Add Proteins

If there’s weight training involved, consuming some protein beforehand is recommended. Strength training sessions lead to small tears in the muscle fibres that heal during recovery and the body is reliant on protein to do this effectively.