Eat this before sports training to give you the edge

what to eat before sport training
what to eat before sport training

What to eat before sports training, i.e. American Football, Rugby & so on?

This is a question I get asked regularly by my clients, so today’s blog will cover this topic.

What food should I eat before rugby training?

So, lets get stuck in & I’ll tell you what I personally like to do before my training session, a single espresso, 70-80% dark chocolate & a kiwi – that is my go to and has be for a long time.

Why don’t I just take a pre workout? It’s personal preference, I like my set up & when I get ready for a session, I know that I’ll have them 3 things. I’m not going feel heavy or sluggish. I’m not going to have to much of a kick that I can’t focus on what I need to do. And lastly, one of the most important things for me is that if I decide I don’t want to have it or I forget it, I’m not going to feel like I’m missing out on that almost ritual like boost.

Why espresso, dark chocolate & kiwi?


The key compound here being caffeine. Numerous studies have been done on caffeine consumption & sports performance, for the most part they are positive showing a direct link between caffeine consumption & increase performance, mental & physical.

Dark chocolate

It has to be 70%+ cocoa for it to be of real benefit to you. The high percentage means it’s rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that can help the body form more nitric oxide. This is the compound that helps increase blood flow, by opening the blood vessels and allowing blood to flow more efficiently around the body .


You can have kiwi or orange, they are both packed with a good amount of vitamin C, helping to oxidise fatty acids for fuel & keeping your muscles firing on all cylinders.

What about pre workout drinks & powders?

I just want to touch on pre workouts, they are normally very well tested and studied. My personal option is that I don’t see any real reason to not use them. But are they necessary before a rugby training session? Probably not, save it for the gym if you are going to use them for your weight lifting workouts.

Timing is important

Timing is just as important as what types of food you eat. For example you don’t want to have something heavy or that might repeat on you during your sessions.

There is nothing worse then turning up to an American Football session or any sport session for that matter. Getting ready for the warm up & all you can think and taste is that slightly over ripe banana that was sitting in your bag from the day before that you quickly ate on drive in. All you end up saying to yourself is “shouldn’t of eaten it”

You have to decide what works for you, whether that’s a slightly larger lunch with more complex carbs before, a smaller snack around 15-30min before your session or perhaps a standard meal & larger snack, leaning towards the 1hr – 1.30hr before.

Just to wrap it up

Just to wrap it up, caffeine is not your enemy but don’t become dependent on it for every session. It can be the form of a sports drinks or coffee. Fruits are great and you definitely can’t go wrong with 70% + dark chocolate.

Ultimately keep refined sugars away from your pre training regime.

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