WATCH: How to Make the Perfect Pre-Workout Meal

Pressed for time? This made-in-minutes smoothie and bowl of oat bran will ensure that your nutrition is as high-quality as your workout.

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Rachael Schultz

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Improving your time means more than just training better—it also means eating smarter. Here’s the challenge, though: whittling your body to a lean fighting machine without shortchanging yourself of sufficient calories and proper nutrients. 

For this, we’ve been particularly impressed with the newly released Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean. Light Recipes for Athletes ($25). Written by two endurance athletes—Matt Fitzgerald, who is also a running coach and Outside contributor, and Georgie Fear, a registered dietician and personal trainer—each recipe was specifically created to help endurance athletes become faster while also maintaining optimum health. “Most people, especially athletes, need to not just eat healthy foods more often, but also a greater variety of good foods,” Fitzgerald says.

The ideal pre-race meal is high in carbohydrate, relatively low in other nutrients, and easy on the stomach, he adds. Our top choices? Racing Weight’s Greena Colada Smoothie and Oat Bran with Cherries & Almonds. Both recipes’ unique, tasty ingredients ensures you’re eating a rich variety of clean-burning fuel. Plus, both are easy to prepare, even for the kitchen-challenged. Fitzgerald advises eating the oat bran and/or smoothie two to four hours before your workout to ensure you’re properly fueled but not overly full.

Oat Bran with Cherries & Almonds


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups oat bran
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cherries
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, slivered
  • Milk (optional)


  1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add oat bran and cook uncovered until the mixture begins to thicken (5-10 minutes). Stir periodically to keep oat bran from sticking to pan.
  3. While oat bran is cooking, cut each cherry in half and remove pit with a paring knife.
  4. Season oat bran with salt, vanilla, and sugar. Stir to blend.
  5. Remove from heat and divide between two bowls. Top with cherries and almonds and a splash of your favorite milk, if desired.

Greena Colada Smoothie


  • 1 14-ounce can crushed pineapple in juice (unsweetened)
  • ¼ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup baby spinach, loosly packed
  • 1 serving protein powder (optional)


Blend all ingredients until smooth.