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Diet and training: How to eat well before a workout?

Anyone who trains regularly has certainly asked themselves the question: what should you eat before starting a workout? In search of a source of energy to perform well, it is essential to choose the foods on the menu carefully when having a small meal or a snack before a sporting activity.

Our affiliate nutritionist, Sabrina Lamarre, shares some tips here to help you identify what to eat before your next workout!

The importance of carbohydrates

Why do you think we want to eat before a workout?

For the majority of people, it is certainly in order to find enough energy there to feel good enough to train. In order to achieve this goal, it is essential to have carbohydrates in your snack. As our nutritionist explains, carbohydrates are the body's most easily usable source of energy. This means that it will be able to provide you with the energy necessary for an effective workout. The closer you get to the time of your session, the more carbohydrates represent the macronutrient to prioritize. And this, even before proteins and lipids.

Choosing the right time to eat before a workout

If you want to eat before a workout, there are several factors to consider. Among these, it is important to pay attention to the timing, the choice of food, as well as your own tolerance to digest certain foods. The idea is to succeed in gaining strength, while limiting, for example, possible digestive discomfort.

In this sense, the delay between taking your meal and the scheduled time of your workout has a real influence. The closer the time between snacking and training, the more important the choice of foods to include in your snack becomes. In particular in order to limit the inconveniences, felt in action, during your physical training session. Here are some suggestions from our nutritionist for a good diet before training.

What to eat 3 to 4 hours before training?

By taking it in advance, it is then possible to opt for a rather complete meal. To help you build a well-balanced plate, it is advisable to refer to Canada's Food Guide. With such a lead time of several hours before training, fruits and vegetables, as well as proteins, can be incorporated into your diet to prepare you well for the physical activity ahead.

We still suggest:

  • avoid foods that you tolerate less well at the digestive level;

  • to limit the intake of meals containing too much fat such as fried foods for example.

The idea is to choose foods that are nutritious, but that you can also digest easily.

What to choose to eat 2 to 3 hours before a workout?

With such a delay, it is interesting to opt for a small meal that will be limited in fat.

A few suggestions:

  • sandwiches;

  • Pasta with a tomato-based sauce;

  • Or even a quinoa salad for example.

Otherwise, depending on your preference, you can also choose to consume a good snack containing mainly carbohydrates and proteins.


  • Cheese + crackers + fruit;

  • Yogurt + granola;

  • Homemade smoothie with a milk or soy beverage base;

  • Cereals + milk.

What to eat 1 hour before training?

As you approach your workout, a smaller snack is recommended. The latter should ideally contain foods rich in carbohydrates, and little protein.


  • Homemade muffins;

  • Slice of bread and jam;

  • Small oatmeal with milk and some fruit;

  • Tender bar.

What to eat only 30 minutes before training?

If you feel hungry or need to eat with only 30 minutes between you and your physical activity, it would be wise to opt for foods containing mainly carbohydrates.

Some examples :

  • Banana (whole or only half);

  • Dried fruits (dates, cranberries, raisins);

  • Cereal bar ;

  • Apple or fruit compote.

Food: what to avoid before the start of a workout?

When it comes time to nourish yourself with a workout scheduled for the next few hours, there are a few things to avoid in order to maximize the process.

  1. Although part of a balanced diet, fat is not your best option when approaching physical activity. Thus, it would be better to avoid eating for example a handful of nuts if you have a cardio workout scheduled in the minutes to follow.

  2. The same is true for vegetables. These are essential for a healthy daily diet. However, if you are looking for a quick source of energy before training, it would be better to go for another alternative. Excellent for health, vegetables contain very few calories and a lot of fibre. In a training context, however, this means that they provide little energy and can slow down the digestion process.

  3. The last point to avoid according to the opinion of our nutritionist? Neglecting the importance of carbohydrates! As she points out, carbohydrate-rich foods provide quickly accessible energy for our bodies. To eat well before training, they are therefore an asset that should not be forgotten.

A few tips from our affiliate nutritionist

Now that you have a better idea of ​​which foods to eat for your next workout, here are some additional tips from our nutritionist Sabrina to avoid the discomforts of eating before exercise.

  • Pay special attention to your tolerance to certain foods

We don't all have the same digestive system. Indeed, each person has a different tolerance in this sense. You may even know someone who can easily afford to eat a big meal before going for a run, for example. However, tell yourself that this is not the case for the majority of people. It is therefore important to know your limits as well as your own tolerance with regard to certain foods, and to respect them.

  • Distance the time between taking the snack and the training session

In order to facilitate digestion and optimize the effect of the food consumed before training, the ideal is to space out the time somewhat between taking the snack (or small meal) and the time when you will be active.

  • Think about reducing the portions consumed

When approaching a high intensity workout (like TRX for example), it would be wise to think about eating smaller portions. Of course, you will then be able to regain your strength with a good, more nutritious meal after your workout.

Sabrina Lamarre, nutritionist

The last tip? The one to enjoy your next workout. When you think about the diet to favor for training, it is possible to do it in pleasure. All this without compromising the goals you have set for yourself!

For personalized recommendations on nutrition, depending on your situation, consider making an appointment with our nutritionist Sabrina Lamarre. Sporty by nature, Sabrina will be happy to answer all your questions and guide you to tips for planning your diet well.

(418) 913-8934

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