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What to Eat Before You Work Out

Eating Before Exercise for Maximum Results


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  • I made the mistake of eating before working out yesterday. I only had some cereal with skim milk and felt like I was queasy the entire time. Not a good sich!
  • Hi Coach Dean! I was just reading your article about what to eat before a workout and have a question: In the first section, you mention that most of the fuel you use during exercise doesn’t come from the food you’ve recently eaten. But then on the next page, you say I can eat a small (100- to 200-calorie) snack about 30 minutes before I work out. You go on to say that this snack should include fast-digesting (high glycemic index) carbohydrates and very little fat (which digests slowly), so that you digest the meal quickly and the fuel is available during your exercise session. It's this last part (when you say the fuel in this snack is available during my exercise session) that is confusing me. If I do eat the small snack before I work out, do I then have to workout longer to burn the same amount of stored fat than I would on an empty stomach? I have heard from many sources to not eat before a workout to maximize weight loss, but then I have another source that says to eat something...I guess I could go either way, I just don't know which is best for weight loss...??? Thanks in advance for your help!

    For me, it is difficult to eat before working out in the morning, but wonderful to have that meal afterwards. As I am being more in tune with my nutrition intake, I find the choices from the night before to be important to my morning weightlifting and spinning classes. Spark People is a wonderful site with so much to learn!
  • I usually fill up with water shortly after waking up and then hit the elliptical for aerobic exercise and get a good workout. I eat within a half hour afterwards. I do my strength training in the evenings.
  • I usually have some kefir (drinkable yogurt) just before I go exercise, and then often a luna bar while I am on the elliptical trainer if I need it (I can get low blood sugar and boink otherwise). But I'm not sure if it's the right thing.
  • I don't usually eat before a workout. I find that it makes me nauseous especially when I am doing a yoga class.
  • PHYLLIS160
    I have a protein drink before my morning work out..

    Phyllis 160
  • I eat lunch at 1 and usually go running at 6:30 or 7 so I definitely need a snack beforehand. A banana is usually perfect. I usually don't need a snack before strength training because for some reason I don't get that "my limbs are too heavy" running out of energy feeling when I do strength.

    I really have a hard time with morning exercise. This morning I whipped up the perfect pre-running breakfast a banana with 2 tbsp peanut butter and 20g spelt museli, and ran an hour later. I still experienced the same lethargic lack of energy as I always do when I try to run in the morning, only less severely than in the past. I think my body just really doesn't like morning exercise; my evening runs usually have me bursting with energy. This wouldn't be a problem except that most running events are in the morning.
  • JANADA31
    The last time I tried to run like a half hour after I ate I threw up all over the sidewalk..... but it didn't used to be like that when I was in high school a couple years ago.... I think its cause my digestion is catching up to me:)
  • I eat my breakfast in the morning after I some of my sparkpage while I allow my stomach to settle. About an hour later I am doing my cardio.
  • Literally it upsets my stomach if I eat before I workout.

    my stomach cramps up, then i have to stop, and go take care biz.
    I use to excercise on an empty stomach to avoid cramps and I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting any results. Now I eat a piece of fruit or half a bagel with peanut butter while I am warming 5:30 am. I am glad someone clued me into this trick and guess what? No Cramps..hmmm..who knew?
  • I find that my workout goes better if I have eaten something light within 2 hours of my workout, but have exercised first thing in the morning with no food and had a good workout. I do know that I am definitely hungrier AFTER my cardio or strength, and I usually try to plan ahead to what I will eat or I am likely to grab something I shouldn't.
  • I like the idea. I think it will really help me on this hard journey of losing weight and get back in shape.
  • I have to say that I've never been a big banana fan, but really having a banana before I head out the door for a run has proven the most convenient thing. It keeps my energy up and I'm not crazy ravenous when I walk back in the door. I follow my workouts with a balance of carbs and protein: oatmeal and a yogurt or high-fiber, whole grain cereal with milk. I might try to up my post-workout protein intake after reading this. Maybe keep some hardboiled eggs in the fridge. (Just eat the egg whites, of course!) Overall, great info and lots of new ideas!

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