How Much Carbohydrate Do I Need Before Exercise?

August 27th, 2019
By: Diana Davis Without Limits Registered Dietician

How Much Carbohydrate Do I Need Before Exercise?

Most athletes should consume 30 g of carbohydrate at least 5 to 10 minutes before exercise to improve performance.

If you are going to exercise for more than 1 hour at moderate intensity, eat about a half of a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight 1 hour before exercise. For a 150 lb. athlete, try to eat 75 grams of carbohydrates 1-2 hours before exercise. Choose foods low in fiber that are easy to digest.

Pre-Exercise Foods

Before exercise, choose easy-to-digest foods that are low in fiber. Liquids are digested more rapidly than solid foods, so if you have less than 30 minutes to eat before exercise, consider drinking carbohydrate- containing liquids.

  • Granola bar or cereal bar
  • Low-fat fruited yogurt
  • Oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice or grits
  • Mini bagel, or ½ of a regular or gluten-free bagel
  • 1-2 toaster waffles, gluten free if needed
  • Banana or orange sections
  • 1-2 slices Toast
  • 1 ½ oz Pretzels
  • 8 ounces of Tart Cherry Juice