Pre-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat Before A Workout

This article was published on: 06/2/22 10:37 AM

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Do you think much about what to eat before you workout? Whether it’s from my yoga students, personal training clients or runners I’m coaching, it’s a common question people ask me. So let’s take a closer look at pre-workout food ideas.

Eating before a workout

When you exercise influences what to eat!

It’s an important question because many of you exercise early in the morning. You want to eat something that will digest well and is not too much food, yet you don’t want to feel lightheaded during your workout.

Eating before exercise can boost your performance, improve your endurance and help prevent low blood sugar. This prevents lightheadedness. It also fuels your muscle and liver carbohydrate usage, providing you with energy throughout your workout.

The type of pre-workout nutrition you’ll need depends on a few things. One is your metabolism and digestive system. The other is the type of exercise. Your digestive system and metabolism are unique, so as I always suggest you must listen to
your body to find out what works best.

If finding a good pre-workout meal or snack has been a challenge for you, keep a journal of what you eat, the workouts, and how you feel.

Guidelines for Choosing What to Eat Before a Workout

Use these general guidelines when making your choices:

1. Blood flows to your belly during digestion. This means less blood flow for fueling your muscles. If you feel bloated when you exercise, this might be the reason. Have a meal or snack 45-90 minutes before your workout. You also need to allow for more digestion time before intense exercise as opposed to lower-intensity exercise.

2. Having difficulty with digestion? Then a liquid snack might be a better idea than a solid meal. Liquids take less time to digest (30 minutes or so).

3. Sugar will give you a quick boost. However, you’ll experience a drop in energy when your blood sugar levels stabilize. So if you’ve been feeling like your energy is on a roller coaster when you work out, stay away from sugar based snacks

4. Eating carb-heavy foods before a workout can interfere with performance and cause stomach discomfort. If this happens to you, it’s because your body is still digesting. Make note of this and adjust the amount or type of carbs until you
find yourself feeling fueled and energetic during your workout.

5. A study published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition found that women who ate low-glycemic carbs before a workout burned 50 percent more fat during the workout. If that’s one of your goals, then opt for slow-burning
low-glycemic carbs.

Finding optimal pre-workout fuel comes down to following these general guidelines and then tweaking them to your individual needs.

If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.

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For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness habit coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.

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