Olympic Secrets: Best Pre-Workout Snacks (Vol. 2)

by Travelling Peach

1. Simply Seedz Porridge Pots
Recommended by:
Claire Cashmore (MBE), Team GB Paralympic Swimmer and Triathlete
Claire says The great thing about these is that, in addition to being warming and delicious on early morning sessions, they’re full of slow releasing energy and nutrients, and have so many different flavours available so never get boring. The apple and cinnamon, and dark chocolate and ginger flavours are my favorites. Plus, they’re dairy-free and gluten-free so great for people with intolerances or vegans.’

2. 50:50 Gatorade:Water
Recommended by:
Trevon Jenifer, Team USA and NWBA Wheelchair Basketball Player
Trevon says ‘During exercise, your body loses a lot of electrolytes (inc. sodium and potassium) and fluids so, to avoid dehydration, it’s really important to replenish them. Water is important but I think the best combination is 50:50 Gatorade to water, as it also refuels your carbohydrates, salts and sugars, and restores your body’s fluid balance. Some people choose to drink Gatorade by itself but I find it too sweet so the water balances it out.’

3. Strawberry Jam On Wholegrain Toast
Recommended by:
Zac Shaw, Team GB Para-athletic Sprinter
Zac says 'Strawberry jam on toast is the perfect pre-workout. Not only is it delicious but, together, the jam and the toast are high in simple- and complex-carbohydrates, providing lots of sustainable energy to keep me going whilst working out. They’re also light and easily digestible.’

4. Wholemeal Bagel With Peanut Butter
Recommended by:
Kelly Massey, Team GB Track and Field Athlete
Kelly says ‘The bagel and peanut butter are high in protein and carbohydrates, and low in sugar – brilliant for regulating your blood sugar levels and keeping your energy levels steady and high throughout your workout. Plus, the peanut butter is high in magnesium (100g = 42% RDA), which supports bone growth, density and strength. Vital for runners who are constantly pounding the ground.’ 

‘I’ll often eat some jelly cubes too, either before or after working out as the gelatin aids the body’s collagen production and the quality and regeneration of the bursa (i.e. the small fluid filled sacs between the bones that provide cushioning upon impact and prevent the bones jarring or grinding together.)’

5. Peanut Butter & Banana
Recommended by:
Steve Serio, Team USA and NWBA Wheelchair Basketball Player
Steve says ‘Before competing, I try to eat a bigger meal before my competitions but if that’s not possible, I love peanut butter and banana. It’s so easy to grab on the go and provides you with masses of nutrients and sustainable energy. Like bananas, peanut butter is very high in potassium, but it’s also full of protein, fibre, healthy (unsaturated) fats, vitamins A and E, magnesium, and a whole heap of other nutrients. Together, they’re full of antioxidants and great for regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol levels and promoting the circulation of good cholesterol – definitely my favourite heart-healthy snack.’

6. Acai Balls
Recommended by: 
Hali Flickinger, Team USA Swimmer
Hali says ‘I love making homemade Amazonian acai berry balls. You can add granola, all kinds of fruit, coconut, honey, anything really. It’s basically a fruit ball with a tonne of antioxidants and goodness. They’re really good. Most of the time I’ll add oatmeal too. I love oatmeal.’

7. Porridge
Recommended by:
Laurence Whiteley (MBE), Team GB Paralympic Rower
Laurence says ‘Before competing, I always try to eat a big bowl of porridge. It really fills you up, warming you before you go out onto the cold water, and you know you’ll be full of energy and focused for hours afterwards so you can go out to race confidently. Normally I prefer it plain but if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, I’ll add a sprinkling of mixed nuts or have some berries alongside it.’ 

8. Banana & Flapjack
Recommended by:
Megan Giglia (MBE), Team GB Paralympic Cyclist
Megan says ‘Give me something naughty and I’m sorted. Bananas and homemade flapjacks are my favourites as they’re that little healthy treat to pep you up mid-jaunt. I try to keep my meals as basic as possible, looking at what nutrients the ingredients contain and how they’ll compliment the individual workout rather than the taste because since my stroke I can’t actually taste with my mouth, only through the smell and my nose. Instead, I go by texture to add variety so sometimes the combinations can be really random, like sweet potato and fresh tuna steak, but I actually really enjoy it and it’s full of omegas, antioxidants, protein, healthy sugars… great on so many levels… what’s not to love?!'

And Team GB’s Lawrence Whitely agrees. He says ‘Banana’s are brilliant as they’re high in potassium – one of the body’s most important electrolytes. You lose a lot of electrolytes when exercising so this is a really effective, really quick way to get them back into your system, as well as regulating your heart function and fluid balance so you don’t get dehydrated. They’re also high in tryptophan – an amino acid that stimulates endorphin production and brain function, helping to boost mood, memory function and generally get the most from your workout.’

DID YOU KNOW… One sweet potato contains more potassium than a banana and more than 21,000 IU of the antioxidant vitamin A?

9. Yoghurt Loaded With Berries, Nuts, Chia seeds, Cocoa Powder and Honey
Recommended by:
 Stef Reid, Team GB Paralympic Long Jumper and Sprinter
Stef says ‘If you’re vegetarian, this is definitely for you. Not only will the yoghurt facilitate faster recovery post-workout, but it’s also high in protein and contains Vitamin B12 – a vitamin that’s vital for maintaining a healthy nervous system and red blood cells but that’s usually only found in animal products such as chicken and fish. It also improves hydration, as the protein in the yoghurt helps to increase the efficiency of the intestines’ water absorption.’

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