“If you fuel correctly, you’ll work out harder.”

Manuel Villacorta, Eating Free and Peruvian Power Foods


If you work out frequently you’ve certainly heard someone saying how important it is to eat well after and before exercising. But the question is: do you really know what kind of food you should eat?

Today I want to focus on what to eat before working out.

Eating before exercising is extremely important to prevent protein catabolism (your muscle protein degradation in order to provide body energy) which will result in muscle loss, and also to provide better performance during the work out. All the food you eat before physical activity will also avoid dizziness and fatigue caused by low levels of blood sugar.

So, which is the perfect match?

Protein + carbohydrates with a low glycemic index

Eating protein before working out will provide essential amino acids for your muscle recovery, while carbohydrates will be the fuel for the muscles, preventing the loss of muscle mass that occurs when physical activity is made after inadequate nutrition.

You should eat between 1 hour and a half to 30 minutes before working out, whereas, the closer the training time, the lighter should be your meal.

Some suggestions (the amounts may be variable depending on the sportsperson – weight, age and established goals -, and physical activity – work out type, intensity and duration):

  • Banana + Greek yogurt or quark cheese
  • Oats + Greek yogurt or quark cheese + cinnamon
  • Breaded cereal + cheese or scrambled/boiled eggs
  • Slice of grained bread + banana + peanut butter
  • Smoothies, for example:
    • soy milk / rice / oat + banana (or other piece of fruit) + seeds + cinnamon
    • avocado+ mango + cinnamon + orange
  • Protein bars, preferably homemade.

Please note that these suggestions are just recommendations. Everyone that works out should be accompanied by a sports nutritionist, because everybody is different and each person has its own training goals.

BONUS: Here is the recipe for a homemade protein bar we at A MONTRA / THE WINDOW just love.

This post was originally written in Portuguese. Click here for the original text.