By Sarah Baker
Pre-workout food: what's good to eat?
Food is essential for a good workout. In order to get the most from your workout, you need to get the most from your pre-workout meal. Did you know that most of the fuel burned during a workout comes from the carbs and fats that are stored? There is enough stored for 1-2 hours of very intense exercise or 3-4 hours of moderate exercise. Therefore, it’s actually more important what you eat 3-4 hours before you workout. You should eat a large meal at that point. A small meal is good for about 2-3 hours before you workout and a small snack 30-60 minutes before you workout.
Morning workout/small snack
What you eat in the morning is especially important in order to make sure that you don’t get lightheaded or pass out. You’ve been sleeping all night, so there isn’t the 3-4 hour large meal to burn calories from. Some good morning foods include: fruit smoothies, energy bars, fruit (pineapple, banana, mango, watermelon), and bagels (not whole grain because it takes too long to digest).
Small meal/large meal:
A small, nutritionally balanced meal 2-3 hours and a large of the same variety 3-4 hours before you workout is a good way to give you extra energy. Some food to eat at this time include: half a peanut butter or turkey and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread, fruit and yogurt, hummus and raw veggies, half a chicken, turkey, or lean roast beef sandwich on whole wheat bread, tomato or vegetable juice, cottage cheese and fruit, hard boiled eggs or egg whites, and trail mix with dried fruit. You can make any combination of these foods to make a small or large meal for your workout.
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It’s important to make sure that you don’t workout on an empty stomach so that you don’t pass out or feel sick. Depending on when you intend to workout depends on what you eat and when. It’s a good idea to make yourself a schedule of when you intend to do your workout so you can figure out the appropriate time and food to eat. A heavy meal is never a good idea before a workout, especially if it’s an intense one. I like to workout in the morning because I lack motivation in the evenings. Since my gym isn’t close to my house, I drink a protein shake and eat a banana on my way there so that I have enough to get through my workout, but not make me sick or pass out. It actually works out really well for me but every person is different. Once you find out your workout time, you can figure out your pre-workout food. Remember to eat enough to get you through, but not enough to make you sick.