When it comes to fueling my body for a workout, my stomach can be so finicky.
I can’t have too much food in my stomach, but I can’t be starving.
I can’t eat 15 minutes before my workout, but if it’s been more than 3 hours, my stomach goes into starvation pains.
After all, science tells us that a workout on an empty stomach = your body doesn’t have enough energy to enable you to work as intensely as you might like, nor does it kick your metabolism into action. And eating too much right before your workout… well that just equals vomit everywhere.
I’m no expert on nutrition, health, or fitness, but I do have a good bit of personal experience and have found a few strategies that work for me.
We know that the body needs carbohydrates, protein, fats, and fluids to fuel the body (WebMD). The carbohydrates, specifically, are what gives your body a quick source of energy, giving you that much needed “boost”.
When I think of carbs my mind goes straight to a bowl of pasta or a loaf of fresh bread. And then my mind goes straight to consuming them.
But while that may be necessary the day before a big race, that’s not always what your body needs before your daily workout…especially if you’re watching your calorie intake.
A better alternative, I’ve found, is fruit. The carbohydrates in fruit break down easily, which enables your body to quickly turn it into glucose (livestrong). Why does this matter? Well glucose is a simple sugar…the good kind…which our body uses for energy. When we are low on glucose, we often feel faint, unable to focus well, and simply…low on energy. So glucose = the kind of energy our body needs to fuel a workout.
My current favorite pre-work out snack is a banana with almond butter. Right there I get a good mixture of carbs, fats (the “good” fats), protein, and simple sugar. My body seems to handle this meal best anywhere from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours before my workout. For you it, it may be different. But I’ve found that window of time enables my body to break down the foods to where I feel energized instead of full or overly hungry.
Sometimes I simply grab a peach or a few clementines. These I seem to be fine eating around 15-30 minutes before my workout. Occasionally, if I am on the go or don’t have any fruit stocked up, I’ll grab a pack of peanut butter crackers. Again, this provides me the carbs, protein, and fat that my body needs, without consuming too many calories.
Like I said before, I’m no professional. However, this is what I’ve found works best for me. And as I research the science behind my decisions, it all makes sense.
Greasy pizza right before I go for a jog? Yeah…not going to end so well.
Do you have a favorite pre-workout meal?
As Big Fisch would say, get big and rule the world!