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What Should I Eat Before I Work Out?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You probably know that fueling your body properly can help you take your workouts to the next level. After all, if you go too long without eating, you can feel tired, sluggish and even faint during an exercise session, which means your workouts will suffer and you won't get very good results from your efforts. But with properly timed meals and snacks, you can stave off hunger and give your body the energy it needs to perform at its best.
Here's how to create the perfect pre-workout snack (along with some of our favorite fueling ideas).
Hydrate: Drink one to two cups of water (up to 20 total ounces) within one to two hours before you work out. 
Eat: If you feel hungry before the gym or tend to feel sluggish during a workout, eating a pre-workout snack may be helpful. Limit it to 100 to 200 calories, three to five grams of protein, very little fat, and eat it within 30 to 60 minutes before your workout. This combo will digest quickly and give you an energy boost. Choose a high-glycemic and fast-digesting source of carbohydrates (at least 15 grams). If you eat something much larger, or too high in protein or fat, you could experience stomach discomfort and cramping (since the food won't be digested in time for your body to start diverting blood away from your digestive system and to your working muscles).
Just as some people can exercise on an empty stomach in the morning and others feel sick doing so, timing your pre-workout snacks and choosing what to eat is very individualized. I recently asked my Facebook followers what they like to eat before a workout. Here are some of their ideas that you may like, too. Most of these ideas (depending on the portion size) fit the guidelines above:
25 Pre-Workout Snack Ideas
  • Chocolate milk
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with green tea
  • Banana and a glass of water
  • 2 rice cakes with almond butter
  • Half a bagel with peanut butter
  • Toast
  • Nuts
  • A banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Carrots
  • An apple
  • Orange juice and water
  • Luna bar
  • Fiber One bar
  • A cup of fruit with a glass of water
  • Larabar
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Small bowl of cereal
  • Some pretzels
  • Clif bar
  • Kind bar
  • Milk
  • Gatorade
  • Yogurt
  • Blue Diamond dark chocolate almonds
  • Raisins
A few of my favorite pre-workout snacks are carrots with hummus, fresh berries with just a dollop of vanilla yogurt, definitely water, or a few crackers. Not only does it give me an energy boost for my workouts, but a small snack can control my hunger so that I'm not reaching for anything and everything once my workout is over.