Rethink Your Pre-workout Fuel

02 Nov 2016 7:26 AM | Deleted user

By Dana Eshelman, RD

There are hundreds of pre-workout drinks and supplements on the market, making it difficult to know what to choose or how to decipher what products are safe. These performance-enhancing supplements are unregulated, meaning there is no standard or oversight on what these products can contain. Often times, these supplements include harmful substances and chemicals within a propriety blend, such as a recent find of dimethylamylamine (DMAA).1 DMAA is a sympathomimetic drug which causes vasoconstriction; this can elevate blood pressure, cause chest tightness or shortness of breath, and lead to heart attack. That does not sound like an ideal state for a workout. So, how can you obtain focus and energy and beat muscle fatigue without the added chemicals?

Fuel your workout with a delicious pre-workout snack or drink. Foods with too much fiber and fat can cause an upset stomach. Instead, look for snacks with complex carbohydrates and a little protein for long-lasting energy to fuel your workout. Find the right fuel for your sweat sesh with these snacks:

Guarana Banana Shake

Guarana contains caffeine for mental alertness and focus. Blend with 1 c. milk, ½ a banana, and 1 T. peanut butter. This shake provides carbohydrate and protein to fuel your workout. Top with oats or whole-grain cereal for an added carbohydrate punch to fuel long workout sessions.

Overnight Choco-oats

Combine 1 cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup oats, 1 T. flax meal, a dash of vanilla extract and 1 T. cocoa powder. Mix and leave in refrigerator overnight for quick fuel before your morning workout sesh. Greek yogurt, oats, and flax are a powerhouse combination, providing carbohydrate and protein.

Sweet Potato Punch

Use ½ peeled, cooked sweet potato (or 1 small one), ½ c. Greek yogurt and a dash of cinnamon. An equal combination of carbohydrates and protein to provide lasting energy for your workout.

Green Machine

For an early morning workout, blend ½ c. Greek yogurt, ½ c. brewed coffee, 1 c. spinach, ½ banana. Coffee provides the caffeine to shake those cobwebs and get you moving. The remaining ingredients provide carbohydrates, protein, and minerals essential for your workout

Goji Mix

Goji berries increase energy and enhance the body’s ability to handle stress while supporting a healthy mood, mind, and memory. Combine with raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnut halves and dried apricots. The Goji mix contains healthy fats, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and minerals for long lasting energy.


Dana Eshelman is a newly Registered Dietitian at InnovAge. She graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in May 2015. One year later,  June 2016, she completed her dietetic internship at UCCS. In her free time she enjoys lifting weights, trying new, one of a kind restaurants, cooking, running, hiking, going to concerts & yoga. She is thrilled to a part of the DDA Board of Directors and help spread her passion for food and nutrition. 

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