Sync Fitness Blog

What should I eat before I workout?

I get this question a lot and the answer varies, depending on the person.  First, you should eat something before a workout.  What you eat depends on what you can tolerate.  In college I had a running partner who could eat a 5 course meal and immediately hit the trail for a 5 mile run.  I was COMPLETELY the opposite.  It took me years to tolerate any food in my system before exercise.  As a result I ran MANY miles on a completely empty stomach with no fuel in my body.  No wonder running felt so hard those first few years. 

So…. you need fuel to burn fuel!  If you start off your workout with nothing in your system you will feel like you’re running on empty. You won’t be able to push very hard for very long.  What you choose to fuel with can make you feel great or like you’re going to vomit, so choose wisely.  Here are some tips:

EARLY MORNING WORKOUTS:  If you’re hopping out of bed to workout at the crack of dawn (GOOD FOR YOU!) you need a little something in your stomach.  This will also provide you with enough sugar that you’ll be able to WORK during your workout, rather than think about your gnawing hunger.  When you get out of bed in the morning your body is HUNGRY from not eating for many hours.  You will stimulate your metabolism and burn more calories during your workout if you feed yourself first.  Here are some options depending on how long you have before your workout:

If you have less than 30 minutes to digest: a half of a banana (my personal fave!), a small glass of juice, dry toast.

If you have 30-60 minutes to digest: toast and peanut butter, yogurt, full piece of fruit.

NOTE: You do not want much protein in the hour before a workout.  It is too slow to digest and will likely make you feel like you’re going toss your cookies.  This will definitely interfere with your workout!

LUNCHTIME WORKOUTS:  Make sure to have a mid-morning snack if you’re going to workout at lunch.  If you hit your noon workout with nothing in your system since breakfast 4 or more hours prior, you’re not going to stimulate your metabolism the same way.  You might not even make it to your workout, because lunch will be screaming your name so loud, you’ll decide that’s more important.  Here are some mid-morning snack ideas:

1-2 hours before your workout:  a piece of fruit and 1/4 cup nuts, yogurt, string cheese and a few crackers, a snack bar (no more than 200 calories or so)

AFTER WORK WORKOUT:  Follow the same guidelines as the lunch workout.  Give yourself a snack an hour or two before your workout if it’s been 4 or more hours since you had lunch.  You body will love your workout SO much more! 

AFTER DINNER WORKOUT:  This can be a hard one.  Keep your dinner LIGHT!  If you eat a big dinner at 6, you’re not very likely to get in a workout at 8.  But if you try to wait until after an 8 pm workout to eat dinner, you’re likely going to be too hungry, causing your workout to suffer or not occur.  So try to divide your dinner into two medium snacks.  Have one a couple hours before your workout and the other immediately after the workout while your body is still burning lots of calories.  You don’t want to wait too long and then eat right before bed!  Also, make the post workout meal higher in protein, so you’re not heading to bed with a belly full of carbs. 

If I didn’t hit on your pre-workout food needs here, shoot me an email and we can do some brainstorming!  Happy pre-workout snacking!

2 Comments:

#1 - Dhiraj Says:

18.04.2009

Hi I suffer from moderate panick attacks which means I can’t tolerate pre-workout supplement what can you suggest in my situation

#2 - brenda Says:

11.08.2009

My grandson is eight and is a gymnast. He practices 4 days a week for 3 hours at a time. The time is from 4PM til 7PM. He gets in from school around 3PM. That doesn’t leave much time to rest, much less eat and let it settle. He is in one of the top positions in our state so he must be doing OK, but I wwas wondering what would be best for his growing body and his performance? I’ve been asked by other young gymnasts moms….

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