Pre Workout Meal

What should I eat before a workout?

Well, like everything in nutrition, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. However, there is a guiding principle you can follow. Every person is different. One can eat a relatively substantial meal and train without any issue, while another needs to train on an empty stomach to maintain the quality of their workout. We operate differently, our digestive systems function differently, and, in general, everyone has different needs.

For example, someone doing cardio may need a carbohydrate boost for readily available energy, while someone doing Pilates might not require such a intake. On the flip side, if a person doing Pilates feels weak without eating before a workout, do they need to adhere to that? Absolutely not. Everyone should do what feels right for them and what brings them to the optimal energy level for their workout.

So, as I always say, nutrition should be personalized! Let’s understand the general principle. Before a workout, the body needs readily available energy, which means simple carbohydrates. These are carbs low in dietary fiber, easily absorbed directly into the bloodstream for physical activity.

For example: a banana, 2 small dates, or a slice of bread with a light spread. Now, why is the common recommendation a banana or dates?
– Dates contain only one gram of dietary fiber and have glucose and fructose, which are simple sugars.
– Bananas contain 2 grams of dietary fiber and have a mix of sugars – sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Both bananas and dates are low in fiber, ideal for feeling light before a workout.

What about timing? It’s recommended to eat about 30 minutes before the workout. However, as mentioned before, it’s highly individual. Some can eat even 15 minutes before activity, while others can’t eat at all before. Is it mandatory to eat before a workout? Absolutely not!

For morning workouts, it’s recommended to consume simple carbs for available energy, like a banana, date, or a slice of bread with a light spread. For evening workouts, if lunch was around 1:00-2:00 PM and the workout is in the late evening, it’s advisable to eat about 1.5 hours before the session.

What can you eat 1.5 hours before a fitness workout?
– Wrap with hummus/cheese/various spreads.
– Whole grain cereals with milk.
– Yogurt with granola.
– Vegetable salad with tuna/tofu/chicken breast/egg.

Again, 15 minutes before the workout, stick to simple sugars (banana, date).

Before a moderate-intensity workout, you don’t necessarily need to eat. Of course, this is for people with a balanced diet who consume various food components throughout the day. Therefore, they likely already have stable blood sugar levels.

For example, before Pilates class, yoga, or studio workouts like sculpting and toning, there’s no strict need for pre-activity eating. If you feel weak and it’s comfortable for you to eat before activity, go ahead. It’s essential to approach workouts with regular and balanced meals and not train on an empty stomach.

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