The Alphabet of Pre-Workout Carb Sources


With the Open beginning this week, I shared that I would be posting Nutrition Strategies for 17.1-5 for each specific workout.  However, no matter what workout is announced, it’s going to be very important that our carbohydrate stores (called glycogen) are completely full so that we have plenty of energy readily available! (for more on how/why this works, catch my Vlog for FeNom Energy Systems – Part 1).

I have compiled a list, in alphabetical order, of various sources of carbohydrates that will be good for pre-workout snacking! Each of the portions pictured totals to about 26g of carbs.  Why 26g?  Ideally, about 30 minutes before a workout, we are consuming 25-50g of carbohydrates to enhance our performance through proper energy supply.  This means that 1 or 2 of the pictured items (2 items/closer to 50g if you’re a bigger human or a muscle-y man) would be an ideal option for you to eat up to 30 minutes before the workout begins.

Notice that these portions come in all shapes, sizes, and compositions…some foods require a greater bulk in order to reach that 26g of carbs.  This probably isn’t going to be a good option if you’re working out in 30 minutes or less (unless you like working out with a full stomach) but would be good if you have over an hour before working out and can maybe sneak in one more of the less-bulky snacks right before beginning the workout.

I have scrounged my kitchen for every carbohydrate I own…Here it is:

APPLE: 1 medium/224g = 26g carbohydrates


Baby Food Pouch: 1 pouch = 20g carbs


Banana: 2 small/180g = 26g carbs


Blueberries: 1.5 cups = 26g carbs (only 1 cup pictured)


Bread (Dave’s Killer Organic): 1.5 slices = 26g carbs (other brands/types may vary)


Broccoli: 550g = 26g carbs (actual measurement not pictured)


Carrots: 4 medium/300g = 26g carbs


Cookie Dough (Recipe: Edible Cookie Dough!): 70g = 26g carbs


Dried Strawberries: 30g = 26g carbs (pictured is only 15g…all I had left from this week!)


Dried Mango: 3 pieces/30g = 26g carbs


Energy Bites (“LaraBar”): 6 bites = 26g carbs


Frosting: 2 tbsp = 26g carbs


Gatorade/Powerade: 14 fl oz/about 1/2 a bottle: 26g carbs


Gummy Bears (or fruit chews): 35g = 26g carbs


Jelly: 2.5 tbsp = 26g carbs


Oats: 1/2 cup/40g = 26g


Oatmeal Bake (Recipe: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bake): 1.5 servings (of 8 total) = 26g carbs


Oat Bites (“BoBo’s):  1 bar/43g = 26g carbs


Pasta: 35g (uncooked) = 26g carbs


Popcorn: 35g = 26g carbs


Protein Bar (Quest): 1 bar = 25g carbs (plus 20g protein)


Quinoa: 130g (cooked) = 26g carbs


Rice: 1/2cup = 25g carbs (brown or white…they have the same macronutrient profile)


Rice Cakes: 4 cakes = 23g carbs


Squash (Spaghetti): 4 cups = 26g carbs


Toaster Pastry: 1 pastry = 30g


Tortilla: 1 tortilla = 26g carbs (brands/types may vary)



I hope this list is helpful for you as you prepare for the Open workouts and going forward to properly fuel all of your training in order to get the most out of your sessions!  As you can see, carbohydrates come in all different forms.  Prior to an intense workout (and especially the closer we are to the start of that workout) those carb options that seem typically “bad” (sugary snacks; gummy bears, frosting, jelly…) will actually  benefit us just as well as, if not better than, some of the other “good” carb options!  We need those simple sugars that can break down quickly so that they can be digested and ready to use as soon as we need them!  The bread, tortilla, quinoa, and vegetable options all have a higher fiber content so they are digested slightly slower than those simple sugar options.  This is better if we are about an hour away from the workout so our bodies have time to digest and metabolize the carbohydrates and pass through some of that fiber.  So depending on whatever your personal eating practices are (paleo, whole-30, ect) there are plenty of high-fast digesting-carbohydrates for you to get your fuel in with!

Many of these options can also be combined if the serving size looks overwhelming (to still reach about 26g) or combine whole servings (if you will need more than 26g before the workout!).  Try some Rice Cakes with Jelly, toast a Banana wrapped in a Tortilla, or mix Blueberries, Apples or other fruits into your Oats or Quinoa!

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