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What should I eat and drink before exercise?

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What should I eat and drink before exercise?

Just as a car runs best with a full tank of petrol, your body needs the right kind of fuel from food and drink. Having a fatty burger just before exercise is like putting diesel in your petrol car. It is important to optimise your diet to include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water will give your body what it needs for peak performance.

How long should I eat before exercise?

Generally, most people tolerate their last main meal around 2-4 hours prior to exercise. There’s also the option of adding in a small snack in the 1-2 hours before exercise for a final top up of fuel stores.

What should I eat before exercise?

There is no one “best” meal or snack to eat prior to exercise. Your individual goals, requirements and type of activity need to be factored in when creating a pre-exercise nutrition plan.

To optimise performance it is generally recommended to choose a meal or snack which are:

  • Rich in carbohydrates to prime energy stores
  • Familiar – practice your nutrition plan in training and see how you respond to those foods. Trying new foods on the day of an event can lead to stomach upset.
  • Easy to digest – avoid high fat foods as these are slow to digest

Some example pre-exercise meal or snack options include:

  • Beans on toast
  • Oats with chopped fruit and yoghurt
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Raisin toast with jam
  • Small bowl of pasta with tomato based sauce

How much should I drink before exercise?

This largely depends on the individual needs of the athlete as well as other factors including temperature, humidity, altitude, age, gender, height, and weight.

Generally, drinking around 10ml per kg of body weight two hours before exercise should be sufficient to promote adequate hydration and allow time for excretion of excess ingested water.

One of the best ways to see if you’re drinking enough water is from the colour of your urine. Aim for pale-yellow straw coloured pee which is usually a sign of adequate hydration. Very dark yellow pee usually means you are a bit dehydrated and need to drink more water.

If you would like more information on creating an adequate pre-exercise nutrition plan that is tailored to your training schedule see an Accredited Sports Dietitian.

Want to know what you should eat after exercise? We've got you covered, read about it here.

Your Personal Healthy Eating Quiz

What you eat or don’t eat affects how you look, feel and perform. Take our short quiz to find out what foods you could introduce to help you be your best.

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What is healthy eating?

Eating healthy is making sure you enjoy a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily, in the amounts recommended. The five major food groups as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are:

  1. vegetables and legumes/bean
  2. fruit
  3. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
  4. grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients and eating a variety of foods from the list above helps to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease.

How do I improve my diet?

If you want to improve your diet you have come to the right place. By completing the Healthy Eating Quiz you’ll receive instant personalised feedback and a report on your diet quality to highlight any areas where you can improve your overall eating habits. Your score is based on the frequency and variety of the foods consumed from the five major food groups mentioned above. No Money No Time can help you improve your score by providing tips, goals and suggestions. On top of this we will provide quick, cheap and healthy recipes as well as credible answers to diet hacks, myths and FAQ’s.

Is my diet healthy?

Dietary habits are different between people. Some people choose to follow a particular diet (i.e., Keto diet or vegan diet) while some have to make changes due to certain food restrictions or health conditions. If you want to know if what you usually eat is healthy, then do the Healthy Eating Quiz today to give you the answers in less than 10 minutes.

Why is healthy eating important?

Your HEQ score and personalised feedback report is based on the frequency and variety of healthy core foods you usually eat. This is important because no single food contains all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Some foods are higher in nutrients than others and people who have a lot of variety in the foods they eat are more likely to be healthy and to stay healthy. In other words, if you can eat a large variety of vegetables as opposed to only 2-3 types of vegetables, the benefits are much greater. This type of diet also helps you to feel better, think better and perform better during your usual daily activities.

Take the Healthy Eating Quiz