Best practices for food timing around training sessions – Part 1 – Food timing before your training sessions

News and Updates

by Chloe McLeod

Making the right choices around your training sessions is essential for participating adequately fuelled, so you get the most from your sessions.  Today, we’re going to focus on food timing before your training sessions.

But when you have a heavy training load, job, family, friends… life in general to manage, having to think about it can be a challenge in itself! And, the last thing you want to do is be up at 4am just so you can eat in time for your session! So, what are the best food choices to have before training sessions, and what is best practice when it comes to timing?

Sometimes do it fasted

In a recent post, we talked about including fasted training sessions into you training program. This often works really well to do these sessions first thing, so you don’t have to get up even earlier to have time to eat, and as your glycogen stores will have naturally reduced over night.

Fasted sessions are recommended for low to moderate intensity training sessions, for example an easy paced run or a recovery ride.

If you want/need to eat something

If your training session needs to be fuelled, ie it’s a longer, higher intensity jaunt, fuelling up before hand will help ensure you get the best from yourself.  Choosing something that is easy to digest, rich in carbohydrate, low in fat and fibre and provides adequate fluid is ideal.

Timing wise, if you are consuming a full meal, this should be done 2-4 hours before the session.  For example, maybe you’ve had a big bowl of cereal, or maybe lunch was a sandwich with meat and salad, along with a milky coffee. Smaller portions, or more easily digested choices are better the closer you get to your session from a timing perspective. As an example, a smoothie or other carb rich drink may be a great choice if it’s being drunk ~45 minutes before hand, or potentially even sooner if your drink is digested very quickly.

Again, it is important for you to play around with this so you know what works best for you, to get the most out of your performance. Getting the right balance so you’re not too full at the start, or too hungry later on is imperative.

What’s my favourite recommendation pre-training session?

I love a good smoothie. Blending banana, oats, coffee and milk really is delicious. It digests quickly as it’s a liquid, but it still is rich in healthy carbs. Plus, the shot of coffee gives a great kick due to the caffeine.

Banana and Coffee Pre-Training Smoothie

5 minutes preparation time


1 banana

1 shot espresso

1 cup milk

¼ cup oats

1tsp maple syrup


1.     Add all ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth

Serves 1

Per serve provides:

Energy: 1261 kJ, Protein: 13.4 g, Fat: 5.3 g, Fibre: 4.3 g, Carbs: 47.4g

Keep an eye out for Part 2: Timing food around training sessions – After

If you have any ideas for future articles, let us know through the facebook group!


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