Nutrition and Fitness with Randa

Make the Most Out of Your Workout: Part 1

I received a great question about when and what to eat before a workout. Your pre- workout nutrition is very important and can make the difference between a not so great workout and a rockin’ one.

Eating the right foods prior to exercising not only gives you more energy and sustainability throughout the duration of your workout, it can also contribute to more efficient fat burning, and thus, fat (weight) loss. I am going to keep it simple, without going into the science and mechanics of why and how.

Making small changes can reap huge rewards! I had one client who avidly and consistently worked out five days a week, first thing in the morning. Her pre-workout snack was an apple. When we addressed this, and she started eating differently, she told me she couldn’t believe the difference in her energy as well the results she was experiencing. Oftentimes, it only takes a few small tweaks to make the world of difference.

So, here we go.  If  you are working out first thing in the morning (within 60 minutes of waking) and you are just doing easy cardio - say, walking the dog, or taking a stroll - you do not need to eat (unless you are hypoglycemic).

However, if you are engaging in higher intensity cardio – running, power walking, step class, kickboxing, etc. – eat a snack 20-30 minutes before you exercise. This could include glucose-rich snacks such as:

  • Clif bars or Luna bars
  • Banana with or without a little peanut/almond butter
  • 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1 tbsp peanut butter and a drizzle of honey or a sprinkling of blueberries
  • Serving (or half serving) of cereal with milk/soymilk

If you are doing a weight workout (ie. resistance training), be sure to consume some protein in your morning snack such as the ideas above or:

  • Smoothie (1 scoop protein powder with small banana or cup of berries)
  • ½ cup of Greek yogurt with ½ sliced banana

These snacks pertain to pre-workout nutrition anytime during the day; if you just had lunch, say, two hours prior to exercising in the afternoon, you may not need a snack. However, if you are feeling sluggish or even hungry, eat a snack for the best workout results. Or if you have eaten breakfast and plan to workout after, wait at least 30 minutes before starting your warm-up and workout.

These pre-workout snacks will sustain you and energize you throughout your entire workout so you can feel great and know that your time was well spent. In an upcoming blog, I will share what and when to eat AFTER a workout, so check back in!

Stay tuned for a video showing a simple, yet very effective total body weight workout you can do right at home in a short amount of time!  Who doesn’t love THAT?

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  1. If I eat breakfast around 7 or 8, then head to the gym for cardio and weights around 10, should I eat a snack before or after? If before, then how long before, is it the same 30 min rule?

  2. If you eat breakfast at 7, eat a snack, such as a Luna or Clif bar (if you get the brown packaged Clif bars, break them in half) around 9:30, then work out at 10. If you eat at 8, see how you feel – you may be fine, or you may need a little something for sustained energy. After your workout, try to get a full meal in (ie. lunch in your case) within 30 min.-1hr. after your workout. I will post another blog on post-workout nutrition soon. Hope this helps!

  3. Randa, I’m really enjoying reading your blog! Very helpful information and great recipe/healthy eating ideas. Thank you! 🙂

  4. Thanks, Jenny! Pleased you like it!

  5. Great article and excellent website. Thanks Friend !!!

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