Pre-Exercise Nutrition

by Bethany Vessey, Registered Dietitian on February 22, 2012

To help you prepare for your new or current training schedule I have provided you with some pre-exercise nutrition advice! It is very important that you ensure your body is fueled and adequately hydrated before your classes as this will ensure better results and a more successful workout!
I know with busy schedules
 it can be challenging to
 ensure you eat the right 
amounts of food and at the
 right times before a 
workout but with Synergy 
classes, if you do not eat
 properly you may put
 yourself at risk of low sport performance or even feeling nauseated during the class.
First things first you want to make sure to drink LOTS of water throughout the day before the class or the day before if you are doing an early morning class! Ideally you should be drinking between 1.5-2.5 liters of water/day (8-12 glasses) and when exercising you should drink at least an additional liter (4 glasses). You DO NOT want to come to class dehydrated as this WILL affect your sport performance. Just a reminder to always try and bring at least 500 ml of water to every class! The standard recommendations for fluid intake before and during exercise are:

  • Drink ~500ml of fluid, 2-3 hours before exercise.
  • Drink 150-350ml of fluid at 15-20 minutes intervals during exercise.
  • Drink ≥ 450-675ml for every pound (0.5kg) lost during exercise.
  • Cold and flavored beverage taken in small frequent amounts are usually better tolerated.
  • If exercising longer than 1 hour carbohydrates and electrolytes (i.e., sodium) should be included in beverages.

Research has shown that gastrointestinal absorption of liquids happens at a rate of 30ml/minute; however fluid loss through sweat happens at a rate of 50ml/minute, therefore, fluid loss is inevitable even for the most diligent. This is even more reason why you need to make sure you do not come to class dehydrated!

As for your pre- exercise meal you want to be sure to eat and drink something 1-4 hours before the beginning of class. By eating and drinking something 1-4 hours prior to your workout you are helping to ensure that your energy stores are not depleted reducing your risk of early fatigue, poor exercise performance, gastrointestinal upset and dehydration! Your pre-exercise meal should consist of carbohydrates, protein, fat, adequate calories, and be accompanied by fluid.

Below are some example snacks that I would recommend depending on the time of day you eat and when your class is!
The best rule of thumb is if you only have 1 hour or less before the class you should eat no more than 100 kcals, 2 hours before = 200 kcals, 3 hours = 300 kcals, and 4 hours = 400 kcals (basically a meal. For those who have an early morning class I don’t recommend you eat nothing. At least have a small yogurt, banana, or glass of milk or juice before you come to class. This may still upset your stomach as your body may need to get use to you eating before the class, but trust me its better than what could happen from not eating at all. If you are eating within 1-2 hours before your class you want to make sure you choose a snack option that has little to no fat content as fat slows gastric emptying and potentially this will cause a decrease in sport performance and even put you at risk of nausea & vomiting.

Example meals and snacks:

3-4 Hours Before
– 1 tbsp all natural peanut butter on 2 slices of whole wheat toast, and a banana, and 1 cup of water.
= 339 kcal
8.97g of fat = 24%
59.59g of carbs = 70%
11.51g of Pro = 14%

-1/2 cup of 1% cottage cheese, mixed with 3/4 cup of fruit flavored yogurt, topped with 1 cup chopped berries and 1 cup of water.
= 326 kcal
5.25g of fat = 14% of total calories
51.35g of carbs = 63% of total calories
21.36g of Pro = 26% of total calories

2-3 Hours Before
– 30 g of low fat cheese with 3 Dark Rye Ryvita crackers and 1 cup of water.
= 205 kcal
5.99g of fat = 26% of total calories
25.58g of carbs = 50% of total calories
11.16g of Pro = 22% of total calories

-3/4 cup of fruit flavored yogurt, topped with 1 cup chopped berries and 1 cup of water.
= 240 kcal
3.99g of fat = 15% of total calories
48.1g of carbs = 80% of total calories
8.11g of Pro = 14% of total calories

-4 tbsp of hummus, 20 baby carrots, 1 cup cucumber slices, 2 large celery stalks and 1 cup of water.
= 201 kcal
6.07g of fat = 27% of total calories
32.95g of carbs = 66% of total calories
7.46g of Pro = 15% of total calories

1-2 Hours Before

-1/2 cup of fruit flavored yogurt and 1 cup of water.
= 123 kcal
2.31g of fat = 17% of total calories
23.09g of carbs = 75% of total calories
4.62g of Pro = 15% of total calories

-1 cup of Skim or 1% milk.
= 108 kcal
2.5g of fat = 21% of total calories
12.87g of carbs = 48% of total calories
8.69g of Pro = 32% of total calories

-1 med piece of fruit.

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