Kristen Ziesmer, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD
Fueling before a workout is essential in order to get the best results. A good workout allows your body to positively adapt to the training stimulus. Think better results, faster! By giving your body the proper nutrients it needs, your body will digest and turn food into useable energy. However, it is important for you to know how to combine your nutrients to get the most out of your food. You can’t eat just anything and expect the same results. Here are five tips to help you eat properly before exercising:
Examples of nutritious pre-workout snacks:
- Pre-workout nutrition is a key component of exercising: It is important to fuel your body with the energy it requires to perform at top notch. The best combination of food you should consume is mostly carbohydrates with some protein and a small amount of fat.
- Carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel and source of energy: Having an adequate amount of carbohydrates ensures your blood sugar is maintained, as well as minimizing fatigue, allowing you to work harder and longer. Proper workout nutrition also prevents hypoglycemia, which can cause dizziness, weakness and nausea.
- It is important to eat the proper type of carbohydrate: This is the time when you do not want to be eating whole grains or fiber-rich foods. Try eating carbs that digest quickly such as white bread, pretzels, fruit, low-fat white crackers, Gatorade, etc. Whole grains contain too much fiber and will slow down the digestion of the food and can lead to stomach upset.
- Eating protein before a workout is only necessary if your session will be longer than an hour: Protein takes longer to digest than carbs; therefore, your food will stay with you slightly longer. It will help to save your muscles from burning out too fast. However, too much protein or too much fat can be detrimental to your workout.
- Make sure to eat at least 30 minutes prior to a workout and avoid eating large meals: Large meals take longer to digest and will leave you feeling tired. The amount of calories to consume is determined by an individual’s personal needs, but in general requires 100-500 calories.
- 1 hard boiled-egg, 1 slice of white bread, and a handful of strawberries
- 6 oz. yogurt with low-fat granola and berries
- ¼ - ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 cup of fruit
- 2 rice cakes with 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter
- 1 apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and low-fat milk
Choosing the right foods to eat before a workout is very important. You want to get the most nutrients possible out of your food. Following these five tips on pre-workout fueling will help you to get the best results. And as always, remember to properly hydrate!
Serving Columbia and Lexington, Apex Athletic Performance has a comprehensive and scientific approach to athletic training and exercise, which includes nutritional assessments.
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