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While it is common sense that you need to eat something before attempting any kind of workout have you actually considered what food you should eat?

The best foods to eat before exercising depend on the type of workout and your personal goal.

When choosing a pre-workout meal, it is important to aim for a balance of macronutrients. These are dietary compounds that the body needs in large quantities to function correctly.

The three macronutrients are:

  1. Protein
  2. Carbohydrates
  3. Fat

Protein can increase the amino acids in the body which in turn work to reduce deterioration and stimulate growth in the muscles.

The following are some examples of healthful foods that are rich in protein:

  • Fish, such as salmon or tuna
  • Poultry, such as chicken & turkey
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Eggs
  • Soy

Carbohydrates provide an essential source of energy to ensure you perform well throughout your exercise. There are two main types and each has a different impact:

  • Simple carbohydrates – these are sugars that provide a rapid rise in energy, a common source being white bread, chocolate bars cakes etc. but only provide a short-term source of energy.
  • Complex carbohydrates – these include fibre or starch and provide a slower, more long-term source of energy. Whole-grain foods are a good source of complex carbs as are beans which are rich in nutrients.

Fruits provide the best source of simple Carbs – bananas are a popular choice as they also contain potassium.

The following are some examples of healthful foods that contain complex Carbs:

  • Broccoli, sweet potato, and other vegetables
    • Whole grain pasta & bread
    • Beans
    • Lentils
    • Brown rice
    • Oats

    Fats  unsaturated fats are an essential energy source

    The following are an example of highly nutritious unsaturated fats which provide a range of health benefits:

    • Avocados
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Olive oil

    When to eat a pre-workout meal – To increase energy ahead of a workout, you should ideally aim to eat a meal rich in Carbs and protein around 2-3 hrs before exercising. Alternatively you may prefer a smaller meal that is mostly made up of simple Carbs and can be eaten 30-60mins before a workout.

    Vegetarian or Vegan diets provide protein & essential vitamins through plant based foods the best being:

    • Soy beans & quinoa (known as complete proteins as they contain all nine essential amino acids that humans need).

    The following healthful, plant based foods have a high-protein content per serving:

    • Tofu, tempeh & edamame
    • Lentils
    • Chickpeas
    • Peanuts & Almonds
    • Spirulina
    • Mycoprotein
    • Chia seeds & Hemp seeds
    • Beans with rice
    • Potatoes
    • Protein-rich vegetables such as Broccoli, Kale or 5 medium mushrooms
    • Seitan
    • Ezekiel bread

    Eat healthy, eat wise, work hard & reap the benefits of Nordic Walking


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