Pre-Workout Nutrition Tips

What should I eat before my Open Workout??

Many people have diligent post-workout recovery routines including consuming protein shakes, supplements, and other key nutrients. However, very few individuals give much thought to their pre-workout nutrition. What you consume for fuel before you exercise should include more than just a stimulant based energy drink. It should contain the right types of fuel for your body and mind to meet the demands of the days activity and workout ahead. A great pre-workout nutrition routine will not only help your days performance but can help improve your daily energy levels, build lean muscle mass, and shed unwanted fat. It is essential for taking your performance to the next level.

Pre-Workout nutrition is unique for each individual. The types of foods, quantities, and ratios of macronutrients may need to be adjusted based on how you are feeling and performing.

Check out these 5 pre-workout nutrition tips to start creating a routine that works for you!

  1. Leave time to digest: You want to consume the right amount of food to fuel your workout but not so much that it slows you down. Depending on body size and food choice the body will generally absorb about 300-400 calories per hour. That means a meal of approximately 30g of protein and 40g of carbohydrates an hour before your meal will be absorbed by the time you begin exercise. If you have ever tried exercising on a full stomach, you’ve experienced the feeling of bloat as all of the blood is pumping out of your working muscles and into your abdomen for digestion. If you continue to push through the exercise your body may try rejecting the remaining contents of the stomach. This is best avoided and makes proper pre-workout nutrition an easy choice! 
  2. Choose the right foods: The types of foods consumed are just as important as the quantities consumed. A balanced meal of low glycemic carbohydrates and high quality protein is the best choice. For carbohydrates the best foods to consume are fresh fruit like apples, berries, and oranges. For protein try grabbing a 4-6 oz. chicken breast or a shake containing 30 g of quality whey protein. Fats carry a high caloric load and are not an immediately available source of energy for high intensity activities like strength training so they are best left out of pre-workout meals in high quantities. So this means your pre-workout nutrition should contain easily digestible carbs and protein, skip the fat.
  3. Avoid Certain Foods: Dairy products, spicy foods, and fibrous vegetables may not be the best choice for your pre-workout meal. They can cause cause discomfort on your gastrointestinal (GI) tract that is less than ideal when you are about to train. Feeling queasy, or running to the bathroom is not the best way to spend your time at the gym or prior to an Open workout. As a rule of thumb, if you have to ask “will this food bother me?”, it is probably not the right choice.
  4. Keep it consistent: The more you change up your pre-workout nutrition the greater chance you have of something going wrong. It’s best to be a bit boring when it comes to nutrition, especially when you are eating to live rather than living to eat. Eating the same foods every day around your training schedule is the best way to dial in exactly the foods and quantities that give you the best results.
  5. Keep it simple: The best routine is the one that you have the highest probability of following. When you plan your pre-workout meal consider the foods that you generally have access to and can properly prepare and take with you.

Everyone is different, what one person may be able to tolerate prior to working out will be different for another person. The best advice I can give is to not change it up come game day, stick to your norms and do not try out something new for your pre-workout nutrition day of competition. Don’t know what this looks like for you or don’t have a pre-workout nutrition protocol? Then you will need to experiment to find what works best for you!

If you still have questions about nutrition or how to eat before your Open workouts, email me at 

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