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Nutrition: Pre-training snacks for athletes

Nutrition: Pre-training snacks for athletes

Rushing in from school or work to eat before training is a common scenario so Eleanor Jones looks at the options

The nutritional goals of a pre-workout snack are simply to ensure you start well fuelled and hydrated for your session without causing any tummy problems. Even a small amount of carbohydrate can have a positive impact on your session.

How much and what foods will be determined by the proximity to training – the more time you have to let your food settle, the more you can take on-board. If you only have 30 minutes, you might be better relying on fluids or some simple items.

Can I eat in the hour before?

The answer is simple – yes, as long as it doesn’t make you feel sick. It won’t cause you to have a sugar low, but to make sure it is best to have at least 50g of carbohydrate.

Fluids

Drink about 500ml two hours before – this should leave you with enough time to visit the toilet before your session. Fluids can also contain carbohydrate, so if you don’t like eating before a session, an energy drink will have a multi-purpose – top-up with two fingers width of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes.

Food

» Two slices of toast, bagel or crumpet and baked beans (135g), honey or jam

» 500ml sports drink and a small pot of yoghurt, rice pudding or custard

» 200ml orange juice and two slices of malt loaf

» Bowl of cereal, piece of fruit and milk

» 150ml orange juice and 35g jelly sweets (such as Haribo)

» Jaffa cakes or fig rolls

Tummy problems?

» Avoid high-protein or high-fat foods

» Avoid high-fibre foods

» Try liquid rather than solid meals – something like a smoothie

» Eleanor Jones is senior sport scientist at the University of Birmingham and a BASES accredited sport scientist with an IOC diploma in sports nutrition

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