Fuel before Working Out

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

Pre-workout nutrition is just as important as any other aspect of your health and fitness. There are multiple factors that will help you decide what the best tactic is for you. Some things to ask yourself:

  • Do I get lightheaded or dizzy during workouts?
  • Do I work out in the mornings or afternoon/evenings?
  • Is my energy level where I want it to be during my workouts?

If you do get lightheaded or dizzy, your body is not getting the necessary energy to fuel the intense workouts. You should consume a small amount of carbohydrates approximately 15-30 minutes before your workout:

  • A piece of fruit or 1-2 cups of berries
  • ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Low-fat fruit yogurt
  • A small bowl of oatmeal or granola bar

If your workouts are sluggish, and you just feel blah during your sessions, consume a small amount of caffeine right before your workout. A cup of caffeinated tea or ½ cup coffee can give you the needed boost.

If your energy levels are good, and you don’t get dizzy or light-headed on an empty stomach, this can be a good way to burn some additional fat. After fasting during sleep, your body’s primary fuel source will be fat. If you are able to work out in the morning on an empty stomach, more fat will be burned to get you through your workouts.