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  • Nicole Musuwo

What to eat during a workout

Carbohydrates are our body's main and preferred source of energy for exercise. But, is it necessary to eat something during your workouts?

Exercise Duration: less than 1hr


For exercise sessions lasting up to an hour, it is not necessary to eat anything during your session, apart from drinking water. This is providing you’ve had a meal or snack before your session. Exercise Duration: 1-1hr15


For exercise lasting 60-75min, again it is generally not necessary to eat anything. However, research has shown that mouth-rinsing with a carbohydrate-based drink, i.e. swirling a carb drink in your mouth for 5-10 seconds then spitting out, can enhance performance. This is thought to work by signalling to your brain that food is on the way, therefore overriding your perception of effort and fatigue and helping you to continue exercising, despite not actually eating/drinking anything. Exercise Duration: 1-2hrs


For moderate-high intensity exercise lasting 1-2 hours, consuming up to 30g carbs/hr can help to maintain blood sugar levels, delay fatigue and help you to perform longer at higher intensity. 30g of carbs is roughly equivalent to 1 banana or a cereal bar or 1 energy gel or a handful of raisins or approx 2 energy gels. You would need to experiment which source you can tolerate well during your activity.

Exercise Duration: more than 2hrs




For intense exercise more than 2 hours, it is recommended to consume 60-90g of carbs per hour. This is because your carbohydrate stores (glycogen) and blood sugars become depleted as duration of exercise increases. Ever heard of “hitting the wall” in running or seen marathon runners collapsing? Foods providing up to 60g of carbs could be 2-3 bananas, 2 energy gels, 2 cereal bars or sports drinks. It’s important to start consuming your carbs before you get tired and best to start ~30min into your session.


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