Eating Before Exercise

by Heather Duchan | October 20th, 2011 | Eating Tips

Finding the best pre-exercise foods can be tricky, as every body is different. If you don’t eat enough of the right foods, your performance and health could suffer. Likewise, eating too much of any food can make you feel sluggish or cause nausea and vomiting when combined with exercise. Also, food and nutritional needs vary with the workout intensity and the time of day. To figure out the right meals to eat before you exercise, keep a few guidelines in mind.

For the purpose of exercise, your goal should be to have nutrients in your body – on an empty stomach. This will allow your body to have stamina and reduce any feelings of hunger while keeping any nausea at bay. To accomplish this, you’ll need to eat early enough so that food can pass through your stomach before you begin your workout. Small meals usually empty the stomach within a few hours, while larger meals, especially those with high protein content, may take up to six hours or more.

For afternoon workouts, a pre-workout snack is probably unnecessary as long as a well balanced lunch was eaten earlier in the day. The same goes for late evening workouts. Just wait several hours after a light dinner.

For workouts in the morning before lunch, or in the afternoon before dinner, consider eating a light, but highly nutritious snack about two hours before you exercise. Choose foods that are high in carbohydrates, but low in fat. Add just enough protein to satisfy hunger without weighing you down. Combine plenty of fluids with your meal, since your body will need to be well-hydrated to get the most out of your workout. This can be accomplished by having a liquid meal, such as a fruit and vegetable smoothie with a little protein added, if necessary.

It’s always best to listen to your body. Follow these guidelines as long as you’re getting an overall balanced diet. After trying different meals and foods out, you’ll get a feel for what works and what doesn’t work.

  1. […] & Exercise Share Many people ask about what’s best to eat before a workout. Perhaps the equally (and some may even argue more) important question, which seems to be addressed […]

Comments on Eating Before Exercise

All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.