Your body is a machine, and machines need fuel.
Making sure you have the right amount and type of fuel in your body before you exercise will improve your performance, make working out more enjoyable, and get you to your results quicker.
Here’s everything you need to know about eating before a workout:
Timing is important for a pre-workout meal.
If you eat too close to your workout, you won’t give your body enough time to digest the food, and you might feel bloated.
If you eat too long before your workout, you’re likely to burn through your energy source before you even start.
The ideal time is 30-60 minutes before your workout. Adjust according to how you feel during the exercise. Try to have a snack with a bit of carb, protein, fats, but emphasize the carbs.
Carbs are fuel for your muscles. When you eat carbs, your body stores its glucose as glycogen.
When you put your body through short, high-intensity exercise, that glycogen is the first source of energy for your muscles. As this glycogen runs out, you’ll find your energy and intensity diminished.
Before your workout, it’s a great idea to eat some simple, easily digestible carbohydrates. This will give your muscles the energy you need to power through your workout.
Fruits: Bananas and apples are awesome pre-workout snacks. They’re high in carbohydrates and natural sugars. They’re also easily digestible, portable, and delicious.
Grains: Things like oats, whole-wheat bread, and granola are fantastic for a workout. Try mixing them with fresh or dried fruit and nuts!
Protein is essential post-workout to help your muscles recover, but it’s also good before one.
Some studies have shown that eating protein before exercise can improve strength, recovery, and muscle growth.
If you want to give your muscles a jumpstart on recovery, try eating some lean proteins before you exercise.
Sources: Grilled chicken, fish, and jerky are all great sources of quickly edible proteins.
They take a little more time to digest, so try eating them an hour before your workout.
Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are also great sources of protein that can be eaten with fruit and other carbs to maximize your gains!
While carbs are the ideal source of fuel for shorter, high-intensity workouts, fats are what you need for longer, moderate exercise.
When your glycogen stores run out, your body switches to stored fats. When you’re doing long, sustained exercises such as running, your body will benefit from some extra fats in your diet.
Fat is not necessarily bad. There are plenty of healthy fats that you can eat. Look for things unsaturated fats – avoid saturated and trans fats.
Sources: Avocados, olive oil, and nuts are all great sources of healthy fats. Avocados and nuts are easy to add to other good pre-workout snacks, such as trail mix and healthy sandwiches.
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