If you want to optimize the results of working out, consuming a small snack or pre-workout meal is ideal. However, every body digests food differently. Let’s go over what to eat and when to eat it before you begin your workout.
Tips for Eating Before a Workout
Experts recommend that you eat (actual whole foods, not just liquids) about 2-3 hours before the start of your workout. Remember to time it for what feels best with your body. This is to help optimize recovery and provide energy and performance boost during exercise.
Ideally, we want our pre-workout meal to consist of all three macronutrients (Carbs, Fat, Protein), but sometimes our bodies don’t tolerate things as planned. SO remember these are recommendations, not necessities.
When all three macronutrients are combined, as long as your system can tolerate it, they can help preserve the muscle, stimulate protein synthesis, and improve performance.
– Carbs act like the fuel, helping create energy for the muscles and energy systems.
– Protein helps flood the muscle with Amino Acids, aka the tiny guys that make up protein, so the muscle can uptake it to continue to build and get stronger, and prevent too much breakdown.
– Fats help slow down the digestion process, so you can maintain even levels of glucose and insulin while working out, as well as provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Pre-Workout Meal Ideas
What would make a great pre-workout meal? Remember to do what works best for your body. Check out these ideas from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
- A peanut butter and banana or PBJ sandwich
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
- Apple and peanut or almond butter
- Handful of nuts and raisins (two parts raisins: one part nuts)
Email me if you need help figuring out what would work best for you, or need new ideas! We can always discuss this and more during a fitness consultation.
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Written by Kailyn Danhouser, EP-C; Personal Trainer at Elite Sports Club – River Glen & North Shore
Kailyn graduated from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse with a B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science. She is an American College of Sports Medicine: Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C), AAAI/ISMA: Certified Pilates Instructor, and Certified Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. Kailyn specializes in Functional Training, Group training, Special Populations, Weight Management, and HIIT. “I want to inspire people to find exercises that they enjoy doing every day. There are many opportunities all around us to move our bodies, we have to look for them. The exercises you do are better than the ones you don’t do.”