Best Pre-workout Foods

BY CHRIS ROSENBLOOM, PHD, RD, CSSD

All kinds of pre-workout supplements are being marketed to
athletes claiming to boost energy, enhance performance, and
improve endurance. Do you need to eat before a workout? If
so, what should you eat or drink? Let’s look at who might need
a pre-workout snack and the best choices.

If your workout lasts longer than 45 minutes (and what
swimmer’s workout doesn’t?) you should fuel up before
exercise. What you should eat and how much you should eat
depends on how much time you have before a workout.

Ideally, you will have time for a healthy meal 3-4 hours before
exercise, so that there is time for the food to be digested and
absorbed. But when reality strikes and you don’t have time to
eat before swim practice, you should at least eat 30 grams of
carbohydrate. Carbs that are easily digested and eaten 15
minutes before exercise can improve your performance when compared to exercising with no carbohydrate.

Here are my top picks for snacks with 30 grams of carbohydrate. These foods also provide other benefits, such as extra vitamins and minerals needed for optimum performance.

-6-ounce container of low-fat fruit yogurt has 30 grams of carbs with the added benefit of calcium
(as much as a glass of milk), protein, potassium, vitamin A and riboflavin.
-2 mini-bagels with a piece of low-fat string cheese provide 30 grams of carbs, protein and B-vitamins
needed for energy.
-1 medium to large sized banana has 30 grams of carbs. A banana is the original fast food – easy to pack
and eat, and requires no refrigeration. Bananas are also a powerhouse for potassium, an electrolyte lost
in sweat.
-Banana-strawberry fruit smoothie (8-12 ounces depending on product). Liquids, like smoothies, are easy
to digest and most contain calcium and vitamin C.
-10 mini-pretzels and ! cup apple juice contain easy to digest carbs along with some sodium for those
who are salty sweaters.

Eating before a workout doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. All it takes is some planning to have
nourishing snacks available to power you through a workout.

Chris Rosenbloom is the sports dietitian for Georgia State University Athletic Department and is the editor of recently published Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals, 5th edition, published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2012).

Read more at http://www.usaswimming.org

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