Reformed Pilates
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How to fuel your body for a workout 

Whether it’s a yoga class, a long-distance run or a weight training session, the best way to maximise your workout is to fuel your body in a way that supports your goals. Part of that is optimising your pre-workout routine to include a meal or snack that will give you the energy boost you need when you need it.  

If you’re feeling a little confused when it comes to fueling yourself prior to exercise, here are some tips to help you make the right nutritional choices to power your workouts.

Choose your food wisely 

If you’ve ever heard someone talking about hitting their daily “macros”, they’re referring to the three main macronutrients your body needs in large amounts to function. Carbohydrates, protein and fats are all part of a healthy, well-rounded diet, which means they are also essential when you plan to work up a sweat. 

When it comes to a pre-workout meal or snack, you should consider how much time you have, the type of exercise you’ll be doing and the unique role each macro plays in fuelling your body.


Your body’s primary source of energy is glucose, which comes from carbohydrates. So, despite what you may have heard, carbs are not the enemy. That being said, the type of carbohydrate you choose (complex or simple) and when you eat it is important to consider.  

If you have a couple of hours before your workout, complex carbs with a lower glycemic index — like whole grains, legumes, and starchy and non-starchy vegetables — will digest slower and release energy for longer. If you’re working out in the next 30 minutes, simple carbs from fruit or dairy products can give you the quick blast of energy you need to get through an intense session.  


While carbs are generally the body’s main fuel source, fats play a role in helping the body access and utilise those carbs. If you’re doing a low-to-moderate-intensity exercise such as a long run, a small number of unsaturated fats from nuts or nut butter can provide a sustained source of energy.  

Keep in mind that even though healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet, they won’t be as helpful for shorter, HIIT-type workouts. You should also avoid large portions of any type of fat within a couple of hours of a workout.


Since every cell in the human body contains protein, it’s vital to get enough protein in your overall diet to help your body continuously repair cells and make new ones. Eating protein before a workout not only contributes to greater strength and performance but also helps with muscle building and recovery. A pre-workout meal or snack should focus on carbs and be made up of no more than 25% protein. Try to save the higher-protein meals for after your workout. 

What about supplements?

If food isn’t giving you the energy you need to crush an intense workout routine, using a pre-workout supplement is an option. Usually, in the form of a powder that you can mix into water or a smoothie, many pre-workout supplements include the following important ingredients: 

  • Caffeine: A stimulant is known to increase energy, focus and mental alertness, caffeine can improve exercise performance for some people. 
  • Creatine: A chemical compound produced by the body that plays a role in energy production and muscular strength, creatine can improve recovery time, muscle mass, strength and exercise performance. 
  • BCAAs: Also found in dietary sources of protein, branched-chain amino acids help increase muscle growth and decrease muscle soreness. 

It might take a little experimenting to find a pre-workout supplement that suits you, but you should always try to avoid options that include artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols as well as excess amounts of caffeine. At David Lloyd Clubs, we partner with Optimum Nutrition to provide a quality source of pre-and post-workout supplements for our members.

Make nutrition a priority

Since nutrition is such a huge part of fitness, finding the best approach for you is the key to sticking to a routine and seeing results. There are countless ways to combine the three main macronutrients and create pre-workout snacks and meals that work for your schedule, dietary preferences and goals. Our team of fitness experts and personal trainers will be happy to offer advice on meal plans and snacking options, but here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Peanut or almond butter with an apple or banana 
  • Oatmeal with milk and fruit 
  • Handful of nuts 
  • Greek yoghurt with berries  
  • Turkey sandwich with wholegrain bread 
  • Sweet potato with brown rice   

The Clubroom at David Lloyd Clubs offers a menu that supports healthy choices, whether you’re stopping in for a quick pre-workout snack, meeting friends for dinner or refuelling after a workout. Check out what we have to offer at your local club

Interested in exploring whether a membership is right for you? Start by finding out more about the fitness classes and facilities at David Lloyd Clubs. 

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