7 May 2018

What to eat before exercise

From Nine To Noon, 11:36 am on 7 May 2018

Do you know what or when it's best to eat before you work out?

A small snack like a couple of energy balls or a slice of oat power loaf about an hour in advance is sports dietitian Becky Jones' recommendation.

"It's going to boost that brain energy and supply energy to your working muscles and make you feel better, as well, because food is important for your mood, too."

Energy Balls and Oat Power Loaf

Energy Balls and Oat Power Loaf Photo: The Performance Pantry

The energy balls have a bit of extra salt in them that can be helpful if you sweat a lot.

"If you're getting dried salt patches on your skin or your sports clothes afterwards you really need to be thinking about having some sodium in what you're consuming."

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Photo: https://theperformancepantry.co.nz/

The oat power loaf is made from things you've probably already got at home and is a good source of protein, fibre and iron, Becky says.

A carbohydrate-based snack is a good idea before a workout because carbs digest quickly.

This could be a piece of fruit – bananas are a sports nutrition icon, but whatever fruit you like – some crackers or a cooked potato or kumara.

Add some cheese or nuts for protein.

If you're active, make sure you're sipping water – not just tea and coffee and definitely not energy drinks – to stay hydrated through the day, Becky says.

For post-exercise recovery, chocolate milk can be a good option, especially for kids.

'It contains the perfect amount of well-absorbed protein, good amounts of carbohydrate. It's also a great source of calcium."


Energy Balls
Oat Power Loaf

Becky Johnson works with athletes at The Performance Pantry in Wellington.