Nutrition FAQ | I don’t like to train with food in my stomach

Posted on July 3, 2019 by

NSWIS athletes get a wide range of assistance and support about diet and nutrition to use food as their performance advantage and reach their goals.

Over time there has been some trends in questions which are common from athletes about their diet and what can help support training.

The specific needs of each individual athlete are always different depending on their goal and training loads but below are some explanations for some of the more common questions and scenarios athletes talk to the NSWIS Dietitian about.


I don’t like to train with any food in my stomach as it gives me stomach upsets, what can I do instead?

Training on a full stomach can be hard for some athletes as it can cause gut discomfort and can also be inefficient in fuel delivery for training as the blood moves away from the digestive system to go to working muscles as training intensity increases, leaving partially digested food in the gut.

To avoid stomach discomfort during activity it is beneficial to avoid large meals and foods that are high in fibre or fat right before training. These foods provide a larger bulk and take longer to break down so may not have digested sufficiently before training starts.

If you have limited time to eat before training (for example first thing in the morning or after school) and you don’t want to sacrifice performance by not having enough energy in your system, try lower fat, lower fibre carbohydrate foods that wont sit in the stomach like a jam or honey sandwich on white bread or rice crackers, yoghurt or corn flakes as they will be broken down easily and provide carbohydrate for training. These foods aren’t ideal to have one their own away from training but shows different foods have a place at different times specific to training.

If you just can’t tolerate solid food consider beverage options and have a Powerade or 100% juice before training to provide some carbohydrates.

It doesn’t have to be a full meal; these act as a top up to access energy stores in addition to your last main meal which you should aim to have 3 to 4 hours before so it has a chance to digest.

You can also see this article on the benefits of breakfast for more options.

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