Before Workout Fuel

Your body’s muscle glycogen stores are limited. Depending on intensity and length of your workout session, not feeding it carbs before hand can make you end up hitting a wall. Giving your body proper simple carbs before a workout will allow you to push harder and longer.

I normally suggest against simple carbs because they are instantly absorbed and used by your body, like white sugar, white rice, white flour, and so on. In this case, I am suggesting a healthy-instant fuel so you will get a little nutrition along with your simple carbs.

Of course you could just pop a handful of jelly beans, but lets see what else you can have before a workout.

20-30 Minutes Before

  • Bananas or Other Fruit– Includes some healthy fiber and nutrients
  • Low-Fat Yogurt – Provides a little protein to preserve muscle mass, as well as carbs to fuel you through the wall you won’t hit! Hint: Full fat yogurt does not do the same thing. The fat will slow you down and make you feel too full to workout. 
  • Low-salt pretzels – Instant fuel. Hint: High salt will hinder your workout performance so choose low-sodium! 
  • Small Smoothie 4-8oz – A shake made with soy milk and and a handful of frozen fruit will provide you a low-fat, simple carb fuel that will digest quickly and easily.
  • Half PB&J on Whole Grain– Yes, on whole grain. The complex carbs will digest through out your workout, and the jam will be the instant fuel. Use a low fat PB like PB2 powder+Water to avoid feeling too full.
  • Strawberry Yum Yum- 1 Scoop Low Cal Vanilla Protein Powder, 6 oz low-fat yogurt, 3 strawberries

2-3 Hours Before (to allow proper digestion)

  • 1 cup Pasta – Love pasta but trying to lose weight? Eat one cup of your favorite low-fat variety (no cheese/white sauce) before a scheduled exercise session.  Choose a healthy pasta made from quinoa or brown rice. Avoid high-fiber pastas because they may cause indigestion and not make you want to workout!
  • Pita + Hummus – Use 1 whole grain pita and 1/4 C non-spicy hummus. Spicy foods will cause indigestion! (Not that I know this from experience of anything…)
  • 1 Slice Whole Grain Veggie Pizza (no cheese)- Does this really need an explanation?
  • Whole Grain Sandwich + Low-Fat Protein (low sodium, no cheese, no mayo) 
  • Quinoa Pilaf – Protein, Whole Carbs, and Veggies
  • Protein Pancakes – Protein powder in pancakes? Double delish.
  • Whole Grain Waffle + Low-Fat topping 
  • Whole Grain Toast + 1 Egg White 
  • Oatmeal + Raisins/Fruit

Go Eat! 

Now that you understand what you need to fuel you through a workout, you have no excuse to not hit the gym hard today! Have fun!

Best Health,


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