Eating before a workout is recommended to give your body the energy it needs to perform. However, what you eat before a workout can drastically influence the results of your workout. Eating too much, or too much of the wrong kinds of food, will work against your body instead of encouraging your body to work for and with itself. Here, we will look at what to eat and what not to eat before a workout.
What to eat:
Walking into the gym with a snack in your mouth isn’t the best solution. Ideally, you want to eat a small meal or snack around 1-2 hours before you’re due to workout. A small meal or snack doesn’t have to mean a tiny amount of calories. It wouldn’t mean a large amount of calories either. Nutritionists differ in their opinions and practices when it comes to calories. Some nutritionists recommend about 200-300 calories pre-workout which includes more carbohydrates than protein. Combine fruits with light protein sources like yogurt and nut butters. Stay away from “bars” which have high levels of fructose and other sugars.
What not to eat:
You want to choose the foods that are going to quickly digest, give you a burst of energy, and not detract from your overall fitness goals, like building muscle. There are a few kinds of foods you should stay away from if possible before diving into a workout. For example, eating a snack or small meal high in fiber and fibrous foods isn’t the best choice before a workout. Fiber takes a long time for the body to digest and break down. Before a workout, you need food that is going to quickly metabolize and be broken down so your body can utilize its energy. High fiber foods like vegetables and certain protein bars are better for snacks after a workout. Avoid other foods which take too long to digest, like highly complex carbohydrates and dense fats. Whole grain toast or bread with loads of coconut oil, almond butter, or peanut butter are great for after a workout but not before one. Lastly, it is recommended to avoid eating anything spicy before a workout. Spicy foods can rumble and tumble in your stomach as your system tries to digest during physical activity. The last thing you want is to be burping up your spicy snack or having to run to the bathroom in between sets.
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