Eating Smart for
EATING BEFORE A WORKOUT PERFORMS
TWO IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS:
Your muscles receive a supply of needed energy for your workout
Your body and brain get fuel and nutrients needed for daily living
WHY EAT BEFORE EXERCISE:
1. You’ll burn more calories because you’ll be drawing fuel from both carbohydrate and fat stores.
2. You’ll have the endurance to lengthen your work out. Fueling up ahead of time will prevent you from feeling dizzy, shaky or
out of energy.
3. You’ll perform better. Stocking up on food delays that familiar burning feeling in your muscles.
4. Your body needs fuel to keep your heart and brain going even when you’re not working out so you need to eat every 3 to 5
hours especially when maintaining a regular fitness routine.
WHAT, WHEN, AND HOW MUCH
NO TIME TO EAT BEFORE YOU ONLY 10 MINUTES BEFORE YOUR
WORKOUT? TRY THESE TIPS: WORKOUT?
Consume high-carbohydrate foods that are low in fat and Here are some small, easy-to-digest meals to try right be-
have a moderate amount of protein. The following are fore your workout:
choices that are digested easily: A meal replacement drink
Bread Pasta Fruit A glass of sports drink
Cereal Energy bars Milk A small fruit flavored yogurt
Cheese Peanut Butter Yogurt A packet of energy gel
*Meal Example: a whole grain bagel topped with tomato
slices and reduced-fat cheese, or breakfast cereal and fruit
with low-fat or fat free milk or soy milk.
Eat 400 to 800 calories in your
pre-workout meal. This should
fuel your exercising body without
making you fell sluggish or full.
Drink at least 10 ounces of water
or sports drink 2 hours before
your morning exercise. This
helps offset sweat losses during
your workout and gives your
kidneys time to rid your body of
FUELING FOR A MORNING WORKOUT REQUIRES TWO PLANS:
A NIGHT-TIME AND MORNING EATING PLAN.
Fuel up with a large high- Try to get in at least 100 calories.
carbohydrate dinner to fully stock the You’ll have an easier time with
fuel tanks in your muscles for the stomach jostling if you make your
next morning’s exercise. calories liquid.
For example try pasta with tomato Try a sports drink, a meal in a can
sauce, a salad, and some bread or a (such as Carnation Instant Breakfast),
veggie stir-fry with rice. a glass of orange juice, chocolate milk
or a packet of energy gel.
MEAL PLAN FOR TIPS FOR EATING
EXERCISERS YOU EXERCISE
You want to refuel your muscles
Pre-workout fueling: with carbohydrates, protein & fat after your workout.
One high carbohydrate energy bar
10 ounces of water To achieve this try these suggestions:
Breakfast: ∗ Sprinkle almonds or walnuts on cereal for a dose of
Whole grain bagel spread with cream cheese, healthy fats & protein
sprinkled with raisins and walnuts ∗ Spread peanut butter on a slice of whole-grain in addition
Orange to cereal
Milk or soy milk ∗ Try eggs in the morning!
∗ Add vegetarian sausage links to your egg breakfast
Morning snack: ∗ Try cottage cheese or yogurt topped with fresh or canned
Cheese stick fruit & a handful of nuts
Whole wheat crackers ∗ Try cooked rice or oatmeal with raisins and soy nuts driz-
zled with honey
Lunch: ∗ A slice of leftover veggie pizza and a piece of fruit
Minestrone / vegetable bean soup
Whole wheat bread with trans-free margarine Think outside of the breakfast box in order to help sequester
Baby carrots ravenous hunger later in the day!
Snack: * EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, SO EXPERIMENT WITH
Trail mix or pretzels THESE SUGGESTIONS.
Vegetable or 100% fruit juice
Dinner: For more information
Lean meat on nutrition & meal planning:
Steamed/cooked vegetables Office of Health Education & Promotion
Rice, polenta or baked potato
Salad greens with light dressing UNH Health Services
Adapted from Eat Smart, Play Hard by Liz Applegate, Ph.D., 2001. www.unh.edu/health-services
Created by Jennifer Williams, Dietetic Intern, November 2004, UNH Health Services