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  • Pre-Workout Food: What and When to Eat


    We all know the rules about when we are supposed to be eat post-workout. That is usually pretty easy to do. However, there is also another important part of workouts and that is what you eat BEFORE you get started. There are a lot of different opinions and everyone has to figure out what is best for their body, but here are a few options that I have found.

    In an ideal world without schedules and deadlines we could all eat a nice meal 3-4 hours before a workout. However, due to scheduling it makes its hard for this to always happen. If I have to get in a workout first thing in the morning just after I get up most likely it is going to be what most people would call “fasted.” My first workout is always cardio, which seems to make it a little easier. I don’t have the time to get up and get a meal in before getting on the treadmill or going outside. There have been studies to show there are benefits to fasted cardio (I have written about this previously).

    The best type of food to eat pre-workout is a healthy carbohydrate. These would be whole grain cereals, pasta and breads as well as fresh veggies. The key is you want to find a slow digesting carb that uses its energy throughout your workout to keep you moving and pushing forward. You want to avoid foods that are high in fiber and fructose right before a workout. This could cause you to have uncomfortable stomach issues during or after your workouts.

    A lot of eating pre-workout comes from trial and error. You have to see what works for your body and just because it is ideal for someone else doesn’t mean it is going to work for you. That is why I don’t typically give exact foods. The important thing to remember is that if you are going to eat pre-workout to give it time to digest and try to get in a complex carb. There is nothing wrong with not eating as long as you aren’t going too long and your body can handle it. Again, schedules often conflict with what would be “ideal.”

    Some people also find benefit from eating a small health fat. An easy example of this would be a handful of nuts pre-workout. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you are making sure to do it with enough time to digest and not cause any problems during the workout.

    Figure out what works for you and try different things. Once you find what works stick with it, it will make all the difference in your workouts!
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Anonymity's Avatar
      Anonymity -
      I eat majority of my healthy carbs 1.5 hours before working out. This seems to work for me, but if you're on a serious cut you can go a little bit longer like 2-3 hours before working out. I wouldn't suggest going higher than that time wise.
    1. Samappleseed's Avatar
      Samappleseed -
      I usually have a mix of low gi carbs with "medium gi" carbs and same with proteins pre workout and some dextrose and a shake post workout to prevent muscle break down.
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