Healthy & Active Lifestyle Tips

Pre-Workout Fuel

by Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RDN, LD, ACSM HFS

It’s time to get real about what your body needs before you exercise in order to have more energy to last you throughout your entire workout. Of course, everybody is different and depending on the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts you will need to tailor your pre-fuel meals to meet your specific needs.

Fueling up doesn’t necessarily have to occur one hour before a morning workout—it can take place the night before. A bedtime snack can help to fuel a morning workout.

Of all the foods you could have before a workout, prioritize ones rich in carbohydrates, especially if you really want to “amp up” your fat burn. The idea that forgoing food before a workout helps you burn fat is a MYTH!

Woman holding apple.

Here are some of my recommended pre-workout foods:

• Fruit. Any kind you like works! Blueberries, apples, peaches, pears, or bananas are great. You can even do canned fruits, but be sure they contain no added sugar and are packed in their own juice or light syrup. If you do fruit juice, keep it to a 1-cup serving.

• Hot or cold cereal. If dairy bothers you, try soy milk with your cereal, preferably a bran-based or whole-grain option. If you crave those sugary cereals from childhood, sprinkle on a little sugar, which you will use up during your workout.

“The idea that forgoing food before a workout helps you burn fat is a MYTH!”

 Toast with nut butter or eggs and a side of fruit. Enjoy a whole-wheat bagel or English muffin with some protein—either one or two eggs or some nut butter. You could use peanut, almond, cashew, or even Nutella—who doesn’t love the idea of some chocolate in the morning? Strawberries and bananas go great with this choice.

And if you’re concerned about getting all of the nutrients you need, talk to your doctor about a multivitamin, which can help support a healthy diet.