Trimarni pre-workout pancakes

Yum - Trimarni pre-workout pancakes with nut butter, cinnamon, syrup and bananas)

A common struggle among athletes is eating before a workout.

Many athletes have no idea what to eat (often due to confusion - how much, what, when, why) but a large portion of athletes struggle to properly digest food before a workout, which causes GI issues during the workout and thus, even the thought of eating before a workout is a scary thought (which is even more scary when it comes to race day and an athlete feels he/she can't eat before a race).

Here are a few of the benefits of consuming a pre-workout snack: 

-Fuel your upcoming workout
-Help with delaying fatigue during the workout
-Giving you energy for your workout
-Helping you think more clearly during your workout (focus, attention)
-Helping you stay satisfied (and not hungry) during your workout
-Reducing the  risk of dizziness, lethargy or shaky feelings, due to low blood sugar
-Prevent overeating after the workout
-Reduce sugary/sweet cravings later in the day
-Better control over portions throughout the day
-Less tendency to snack in the evening

As you can see, there are clear performance benefits of consuming a pre-workout snack but eating before a workout plays a favorable role in food choices throughout the day - which for any athlete who is looking for a safe and effective way to lose weight, this goes against the common trend that many athletes intentionally restrict calories before a workout in hopes of losing weight. Typically, this approach backfires and athletes end up sabotaging a high intensity or long volume training session (or even an EZ workout) due to fatigue and then overeat later in the day.

Here are some of the reasons why athletes struggle to accept food before a workout: 
-Thoughts that eating before a workout is bad (ex. you can't lose weight, calories in/calories out, you want to be "metabolically efficient")
-Your digestive system needs healing (ex. gut flora, bacteria)
-Inappropriate food choices before a workout (too high fiber, too heavy, too gassy)
-Poor timing of food choices relative to the start of the workout
-You want to save your calories for post workout
-Starting the workout too soon after sitting all day or waking up (you only give yourself 20 minutes or less from being sedentary or waking up before you start working out)
-Unhealthy daily nutrition choices
-Eating too much in the evening (large portions)
-Eating too close to bed
-You don't like the feeling of food in your gut
-You have to constantly use the restroom (loose stools, gas, diarrhea)
-You haven't trained your gut to accept food
-You think you don't need it

In my experience in working with athletes who struggle to consume food before a workout, there are many reasons as to why athletes choose to not eat before a workout.
But we need to fix this as there is a big problem with not eating before a workout.

At some point in your training and on race day, you WILL need to eat before you exercise.
Convincing yourself that you don't need to eat or that you can never eat before a workout (for whatever reason) is not only performance limiting but it can also affect your health.

My hope is that with my Trimarni pre-workout pancake recipe, you will find joy and energy by eating before a workout. I mean, who doesn't love pancakes?
I will not be attaching any rules as to when you need to eat the pancakes (ex. what workout distance/intensity) or how much but instead, I encourage you to try them out, in a portion that you feel comfortable with (1/3, 1/2 or the entire batter).
You should find these pancakes very light and easy to digest (thus the ingredients that I used in making this creation) so that you can eat a portion of your liking and feel clean in your gut, within 20-30 minutes.

If you feel that your training partner or friend would benefit from this blog post, I encourage you to share. I have worked with far too many athletes who have struggled with eating before workouts and races and I know how much of a performance limiter it can be to feel that you can't eat before a workout/race OR that you have no idea what to eat.

Let's start with pancakes.

Trimarni pre-workout pancakes

Makes 3 medium sized pancakes


1/2 cup gluten free flour (or your choice low fiber flour)
1/4 cup lactose free 1% milk (or your choice milk)
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder

1. Mix together ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
2. Pre-heat small skillet to low/medium heat.
3. Lightly coat skillet with butter (I prefer salted butter over olive oil when making pancakes)
4. Pour 1/3 batter into small skillet to make a "thin" pancake.
5. Cook for ~90 seconds or until bottom of pancake is firm and golden brown. Flip. 
6. Cook other side for 30-60 seconds (sides may flip up a little).
7. You can serve your pancake in the traditional style (in a circle) or roll it up like a crepe or fold like a pita. 
(And if you were wondering - these can be anytime pancakes - for a snack, breakfast or even brinner).

Total calories (this is for the entire batter, portion as you wish depending on your workout. You can always save a pancake or two for after your workout): 
360 calories
8.5 g fat
450 mg sodium
57g carbohydrates
6g fiber
18g sugar (natural)
14g protein

Topping suggestions for additional flavor/calories:
Maple Syrup
Nut butter

For vegan and dairy-free diets:
1/2 cup gluten free flour 
1/4 cup lactose free 2% milk (or your choice milk)
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg (or 8-10g protein powder, but pancake consistency may change)

If your Trimarni pre-workout pancakes work for you and you love them, consider making a large batch and freezing for future workouts AND for race day.