Planning what you need to eat before you exercise can help you maintain a high energy level during your workout. However, this does not mean you should exercise on a full stomach because this can lead to cramping and nausea. You should allow 1-4 hours for digestion, depending on what and how much you have eaten.
If you work out first thing in the morning, you should eat something easily digestible 20-30 minutes before you exercise. A piece of fruit, yogurt, or a shake are all good pre-workout choices.
If you are working out later on in the day, you should have carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole what bread or crackers, oatmeal, fruit, or an energy bar, at least an hour before you work out. These carbohydrates will be stored in your muscles as glycogen, which will be used for fuel during your workout.
Before your workout, try not to consume simple carbohydrates, such as honey, candy, or sugary drinks. They will not provide you with enough energy to get through your workout.
Avoid any foods that contain a lot of fat because they are slow to digest and will only slow you down and make you feel sluggish during your workout. Stay away from fast food, hot dogs, cookies, cake, ice cream, french fries, chips, and candy bars because they are all high in fat and will remain in the stomach for a long time.
At least one hour before your workout:
Eat complex carbs, such as:
- whole grains
- whole wheat bread
- whole grain cereal or crackers
- whole wheat pasta
- brown rice.
Immediately after your workout:
Eat more complex carbs with protein, such as:
- low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese with whole wheat crackers
- 1 Tbsp peanut butter or 3 egg whites with 1 slice of whole wheat toast
- 3 oz. chicken or fish with 1/2 cup of brown rice or whole what pasta