Autumn Calabrese: Pre-Workout Meal Can Fuel Energy

Pre workout meal

Can a pre-workout meal really fuel your energy?

Autumn Calabrese, celebrity trainer and famed creator of the 21 Day Fix, shared a Twitter post Saturday (below) that she was enjoying a delicious—yet super healthy—pre-workout meal consisting of quinoa, mixed berries and a smidge of almond butter:

Pre-workout meals are essential to getting your body optimized for a workout. Not eating a healthy, light meal before working out can lead to low blood sugar, fatigue and feeling light-headed.

Calabrese is a highly sought-our guru in the world of exercising. She’s not only an advocate of pre-workout meals—her 21 Day Fix program is all about eating the right portions, of veggies, fruits, proteins, carbs, and healthy fats—so you don’t feel deprived and you can still lose weight.

So what if you workout first thing in the morning—can a pre-workout meal before breakfast be beneficial?

Effects of a Pre-Workout Meal Prior to Morning Exercise

In a study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers looked at the effects of pre-workout meals/nutritional practices for active females—specifically how it affected their mood, cognitive abilities and appetite.

From a pilot study, researchers discovered that higher energy intake at breakfast was linked to lower fatigue and increased mood and alertness after working out.

For their follow-up study, 24 women were either administered a cereal breakfast or no breakfast. After 45 minutes, participants completed a 30 minute run at 65% heart rate reserve.Their parameters were assessed post-workout, and every hour until lunch, right after lunch and again at 3pm and 7pm.

Researchers discovered that breakfast meals improved relaxation before lunch and helped with controlling appetite before lunch. Study researchers suggest that this was the first controlled intervention study to demonstrate how pre-workout breakfast consumption (i.e. a meal consisting of 118 kcal) can benefit some aspects of mood and result in greater appetite control post-workout—although more research is needed.

Autumn Calabrese Twitter. 10:25 a.m. – 16 Apr 2016.
Veasey, R.C., et al., “The Effect of Breakfast Prior to Morning Exercise on Cognitive Performance, Mood and Appetite Later in the Day in Habitually Active Women,” Nutrients, 2015 Jul; 7(7): 5712–5732; published online 2015 Jul 14. doi: 10.3390/nu7075250;, last accessed April 18, 2016.