During most forms of exercise our body requires glucose as fuel. Glucose is stored in our liver and muscles as glycogen, which comes from the carbohydrates we consume in our diet. When we do short (60mins or less), high-intensity exercise our body will use these glycogen stores and so it’s important we consume carbohydrates prior to exercise to ensure these stores are full.
We need fuel to maximise performance and consequently promote recovery!
How do we apply this?
Ideally you want to consume a “mixed meal” 2-4 hours before a workout with a mixture of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. For example if you were training at 5pm, you could have something like a tuna pasta salad for lunch between 1pm and 2pm.
But many of us like to workout in the morning or a bit later than this 2-4hr window. A high carbohydrate snack 60 minutes before exercise is what we’d suggest here. A crumpet with honey or banana on toast are just a few examples. You will likely want to minimise fat and fibre content in these snacks to reduce digestion time.
If you train really early in the morning and don’t have the time to eat beforehand, then having a mixed meal the night before would suffice to fuel your workout.
Ultimately, it comes down to what works for you. Some of us don’t like to eat beforehand while others would argue they like to have something just 30 minutes beforehand - it's a case of whatever feels right for you - they're both ok! Listen to your body and see how it reacts to different methods of fuelling; we're all different so what works for me won't necessarily work for you.