Eating properly before exercising is important for getting the most out of your workout and ultimately reaching your fitness goals. It is especially recommended if you are doing resistance training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or lifting weights. Follow our guide below for some basic steps for eating the right pre-workout meal.
When To Eat
First things first, it's important to eat your pre-workout snack or meal 30-45 minutes before you begin. A feeling of fullness is not beneficial to your workout. Instead, eat to eliminate the feeling of hunger, not to feel stuffed. Some people are able to eat a full meal one hour before a workout and feel just fine. However, most people need to allow a full-size meal 2-3 hours to digest in order to be at their best during a workout.
The amount you should eat before a workout depends on how long you'll be working out. Most people work out for one hour at a time, so 300 calories is typically adequate. Try 300 calories before exercising, and pay attention to how you feel. If you feel a sinking or “crashing” feeling before you’re finished, add another 50-100 calories the next time.
Your pre-workout food should be comprised of mostly low-glycemic-index carbs. Good examples of complex carbs are whole grains, bananas, yogurt and vegetables. These provide energy that's needed to have a good workout. Additionally, to prevent muscles from breaking down, it's important to have a moderate amount of protein, such as eggs, lean meats and cheeses.
Read What Should I Eat 30 Minutes Before a Workout? for more details on what to eat before and after your workouts.
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