Most of us, when starting an exercise program, are desperate to either lose weight, gain energy/muscle and/or look better. Can I ask you what you eat before a workout? If you are like most folks, probably little or close to nothing. It makes sense, right? Here you are, trying to lose weight and by eating too much…you may be risking weight gain! WRONG!!
The correct answer is, you’re just ruining your chances at having a great workout and you are slowing your metabolism at the same time…which is completely opposite of what you are trying to accomplish! Would you dream of driving an hour or so without any gas in the car? Nope. Do you feel great on days you don’t eat enough? Nope. So, why would you dream of starting a workout without “fueling” your body with the proper foods? By not eating or not eating enough, you risk “bonking” during your workout. If you’ve ever felt this sensation before; I’m guessing you don’t want to go there again. It’s awful. You feel sick, you feel like you can’t go any further, you want to quit, your body hurts, etc.
How about reversing this problem by eating first? If you do an early morning workout and don’t have the time to eat a good breakfast and let it digest first, then grab something light. Make sure it’s about 300 calories or less and it is “carb” based. Bananas are a great choice, so is a light granola bar. Just make sure you keep it to 300 calories if you are planning to work out within 5 minutes to an hour later. If you have more time; say 2 hours or so, then you can enjoy some extra calories to get you through. For this time period, choose 600 calories or less. Don’t eat too much less though, if you eat the 300 calorie snack, your body will not have enough fuel come 2 hours later. Plan ahead of time. Take a light snack with you. What are some of your favorite choices? Practice choosing different items and see how they help or hinder your workouts. The idea is to practice different foods and find the best choice for you at the proper time intervals.
Once you are a pro at eating prior to your workout, follow this tip I read on “active.com”. Your workout is not complete, until you’ve eaten after your exercise to re-fuel.
It’s not only about eating before your workout, but afterward too. Your body is “begging” for the proper nutrition following a workout; grueling or not. I recommend reading up on some general food ideas and start practicing right away. You’ll find yourself properly fueled; and you will notice a difference in the quality of your workouts! Also, make sure to hydrate; before, during and after your workouts. Let me know how this works for you!