Whether you're just starting a workout routine or have been doing it for years, it's important to know how, what and when to eat before your workout. Here's everything you need to know about pre-workout nutrition.
What and When to Eat
Eat a balanced meal that includes carbs, protein and fat before your workout.
Avoid eating too close to your workout time, as you want your body's energy to be focused on exercising instead of digesting food. Start with breakfast (or lunch) at least two hours before you plan on working out. This gives your body time to break down the food into energy stores and get it into your bloodstream where it can be used by muscles during exercise.
Make sure you're drinking enough fluids throughout the day, including water before and after exercise sessions. If you're hungry immediately after training, try having some fruit or veggies along with a small amount of lean protein such as chicken breast or tuna fish mixed with vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower!
How Long Before a Workout Should You Eat?
The best time to eat before a workout is 30 minutes before. This gives your body enough time to digest the food and get the energy it needs. If you don't eat for a long time before, your body will start using muscle tissue for energy instead of fat, which isn't good because muscle mass helps with weight loss and strength training. If you're doing a short workout like running or biking, you can eat 15 minutes before or even right after. But if your workout is longer than an hour (like lifting weights), then it's better to wait at least 45 minutes or an hour after eating something small like nuts or fruit because they digest quickly and won't cause as much stomach upset during exercise as something heavier would do.
Choosing the Right Foods
- Choose foods that are high in protein.
- Choose foods that are high in carbohydrates.
- Choose foods that are high in fats.
- Choose foods that are low in sugar, sodium, and calories.
What to Eat and Drink Post-Workout
Immediately after a workout, you want to eat protein and carbs. It's not important when you eat them—just make sure that they're in your system within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. Carbohydrates are best consumed as simple sugars like glucose or sucrose, which can be easily broken down into energy by your body. If you don't have any on hand, it's fine to eat a small piece of fruit for the same effect (except for bananas: they're too high in potassium).
Your protein choice depends on whether you've worked out intensely or moderately; research shows that consuming more protein after an intense workout will help repair muscle damage more effectively than if you had eaten just carbs alone.
Knowing how, what, when and why to eat before your workout is vital for maintaining your energy levels.
If you're in a rush, a simple breakfast will do the trick. Eating carbohydrates such as bread or cereal with fruit or milk in the morning provides plenty of energy for an early-morning training session. If time permits, it's always better to have breakfast about an hour before heading out—that way you'll have enough time for digestion but not so much that you feel full during exercise.
Eating before a workout can be tricky. The key is to eat foods that will give you the energy and nutrients necessary to perform well during your session. You should also avoid anything that will slow down digestion, such as large meals or greasy foods. Plan ahead of time what kinds of food would be best for your particular workout routine and schedule!