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What to Eat Before You Work Out

Eating Before Exercise for Maximum Results


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  • After reading this article and its comments, I decided to eat something this morning before going on my walk. I ate 1/2 leftover sweet potato with Activia Strawberry Greek yogurt (see my Sweet Potato in a Strawberry Patch recipe). I think I ate it about 30-40 mins before I start walking AND I made sure I drank 1 bottle of water, also.

    Remarkable difference. NOT getting scientific or anything and it could be mind over matter but normally within 1/4th of a mile I'm reaching for water or a pick me up. NOT today, I walked my entire course and didn't reach for anything until ending 1/4 mile to finish. I also had more energy.

    NOT saying I'll do this every time BUT I'll do it more often!
  • I've ridden 100-mile bike rides on just an energy gel for breakfast, then appropriate nutrition throughout (and no, not carbo-loading the night before!) If it takes at least an hour for food to digest, and longer for whole grains, then there would be no point in eating them right before a workout, correct? As with anything else, experiment and you'll find what's best for you.
  • I get up in the morning and take my psyllium and L-Glutamine in a cup of warm water, then apple cider vinegar in another cup of water. Then I eat a hard-boiled egg and take a CLA with another 2 cups of water. Then I either hop on the treadmill or make tea and head to my desk to work, depending on what time I got up. I have dinner at about 3 or 4pm, so I need a protein boost as soon as I get up at 4am.
  • I don't eat within 2 hours of working out, or I feel sick. I always take my morning walk on a completely empty stomach.
  • First, if you work out in the morning on an empty stomach our body is going to bring out glycogen stored in the liver and take it to muscle to be broken down into glucose.
    Second, exercising in the morning with a piece of fruit and 1 cup of milk, your muscles are going to retrieve glucose that is been there in the blood stream for energy. So by this being said, there is less effort for the muscles to uptake energy for your work out. Consequently, glycogen will only leave the liver when low or no glucose flows in the blood. So stored glycogen and fat will always be in their reservours until later in the work out or even not leave their storage places (liver and adipose tissue) at all.

    p.s. Information based on my human anatomy and physiology class.
  • A word of warning. If you are doing high intensity training or running, you may want to avoid milk right before a workout. When exercise stomach acid hits milk, it can cause an upset stomach. People have been known to throw up from exercising too soon after drinking milk.
  • I usually eat before my work out otherwise my first thought when I get back in the house is "food" and then I don't make such good choices. So a meal about an hour before and then some fruit or something light within a few hours after works best for me.
  • I eat a protein and a fruit about 3 hours before an intense workout. mainly my 2+ hours of mma training. If its less than that I don't need anything unless I'm cutting weight. Then I need to plan my limited carbs so that they peak when I need them to still train energized.

    Basically unless you're doing a very serious workout you don't need a preworkout snack. But there's still nothing wrong with grabbing a banana an hour or two before so that the sugars are there to make you go harder
  • I like to have a Larabar and 8 ounces of water before my workouts, esp. since I workout in the morning. If I don't, I usually get a headache after. :-)
    Nutrition shakes, also called meal replacement shakes, contain the nutrients and calories you would get in a low-calorie meal. Weight loss requires using more calories than you consume, either by reducing calories or increasing physical activity. Nutrition shakes are one way to reduce daily calories while providing the nutrients the body needs to maintain health. Consult your doctor about using nutrition shakes as part of your weight-loss plan.For more information about Health visit stayfitnutrition website.
  • This article states two conflicting "facts". 1) you don't actually use the food you just ate during your workout, you use what is stored. and 2) make sure you get a snack with quick digesting carbs before you workout so your body has fuel readily available.

    This is kind of important body science....So, which is it?
  • I almost skipped this article because I assumed it was geared more for "heavy duty" exercising/healthy/fit people. This has helped me understand why I have such a hard time getting started. The first 15-20 minutes is so hard. I get dizzy, more tired, I feel so heavy and worry I am having heart problems because it scares me. I was recently diagnosed with asthma and thought it was related to that somehow. I had hoped my medicine would be the cure. I now believe that it is the low blood sugar problem you addressed in your article. I will follow your recommendations! I thank you so very much! I am actually, for the first time, looking forward to working out tomorrow! God bless you! SS
    For me, eating protein and sugar prior to and after a workout seems to curb cravings and help me not to overindulge in other high calorie snacks throughout the day. Example: I'll grab an apple and scramble an egg to put on toast, and have those with a glass of water before heading to the gym (about 30-40 minutes prior to actual hard work). Afterward, I'll eat half a grapefruit and enjoy a grilled chicken breast salad from Subway with lots of fresh veggies and little bit of oil and vinegar as dressing (dinner!). :) I've found that working a workout in before one of my main meals is very helpful.
  • I found the article a little confusing. At one point the author said to stay away from whole grains because they digest slowly and then later on it is suggest to eat them. Which is the right way? And aren't we supposed to only eat whole grains (I took what was said about pretzels/bagels to mean not whole grain).
  • JAN6325
    I always drink a (8.25 oz) light "Muscle Milk" before my workout and one after my workout. Usually in the car on my way to the gym and then one on my way home. It is just what I need to get me through.

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