Needless to say, the world of personal fitness can be a bit confusing for those who are only just getting started on their fitness journeys.
However, no matter how experienced you are at working out, it’s important to know that the fuel you put into your body before and after your workouts will play a significant role in how you feel, as well as whether you’ll meet your working goals or not.
But the exact recommendations on what you need to eat will vary considerably depending on a number of factors such as the time of day that you work out, the type of workout that you’re doing, as well as your individual fitness goals. There are personal trainers from Transformed Personal Training and other experts who can help you understand what food to eat before your workout sessions.
Read on to find our tips!
What to Eat Pre Workout and When to Eat It?
According to fitness experts, it’s important to eat a combination carbohydrates and protein before working out. This is needed in order to provide your body with the energy to get you through your workout and help it build muscle.
On the other hand, foods that are high in fat or fiber, should always be avoided pre-workout, because they’ve been known to cause stomach upsets, bloating, and cramping.
Still, it’s important to note that what you should eat before a brisk power walk will be drastically different than what you should eat before going on a 10-mile run across the city.
So, here’s what you need to know:
What to Eat for Shorter Workouts in the Morning?
If you plan on working out first thing in the morning, experts agree that there’s basically no need to eat before starting. In fact, studies have shown that there are even benefits to not eating before an early morning workout.
As long as you’re not planning on doing any sort of intense workout, then it’s better to avoid eating completely and simply drink a glass of water before getting started. This encourages your body to burn its fat stores to help fuel your workout session.
According to a study published in EBioMedicine, people tend to burn more fat throughout the day when they work out before having their breakfast.
However, if you find yourself starving first thing in the morning, you might need to eat something light before working out.
So, if you experience extreme hunger pain, headache, dizziness, irritability, or a noticeable lack of focus, it might be best to eat a small 100 calorie snack before taking that run.
Just remember to only eat something light and high in easy-to-digest carbohydrates such as a banana, a small handful of grapes, dry cereal, or a small glass of fruit juice to ensure that your body has the fuel it needs to keep you moving.
Some studies have even shown that eating this type of smaller snack, rich in carbs, can even cause feelings of relaxation after you’ve finished your workout.
This can go a long way in keeping you feeling good, which helps you stick with exercising.
What to Eat for Longer Workouts in the Morning?
As mentioned, it’s important that you eat a small amount of easily digestible carbs, to ensure you’ll have the energy to complete your exercise.
But, if you’re planning on a slightly longer or more intense workout, and you’re waking up at least 30 or 40 minutes before your workout, you’ll have enough time to digest a more substantial snack, say around 200 calories, before hitting the gym.
This might include an English muffin, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a small banana, an apple and a handful of almonds, or a half-cup of unflavored yogurt and some granola.
You can also choose a source of caffeine such as drinking green tea before your workout.
Whatever you choose to eat, just keep in mind that you’ll need to wake up with enough time before your workout to properly digest your breakfast. This gives your body the energy it needs to complete your workout without feeling fatigued.
How to Eat Before Exercising Later in the Day
If you’ve already eaten within the last two or three hours prior to your workout, there’s no need to eat any additional sources of pre-workout fuel.
But, if it’s been a while since you’ve eaten, make sure to eat a small 100 to 200 calorie snack within half an hour to make sure that you’re both mentally and physically prepared for the exercise.
This might leave you wondering how long you need to wait after eating before working out, which will depend entirely on how much you’ve eaten.
If you’ve eaten a full-size meal, it’s important to wait at least two or three hours before working out.
But, if you’ve only eaten a smaller snack, 30 minutes is all you need to wait.
Food Choices for Cardio Vs. Strength Training
If cardio is on your menu, make sure to eat a snack higher in carbs, moderately high in protein, and low in fat. This could include a banana and a whole wheat tortilla smeared with peanut butter, oatmeal with fruits and nuts, or half a turkey sandwich.
Learn more about what to eat before a cardio workout here.
On the other hand, if you’re planning on doing strength training, make sure your snack in higher in protein, moderately high in carbs, and low in fat.
Think of something similar to two eggs and a slice of whole wheat bread, Greek yogurt with fruits and nuts, or fruit and cottage cheese.