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 1-2 cups of water (up to 20 total oz.) within 1-2 hours before you work out. Get more tips for staying hydrated during a workout.
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 100-200 calories, 3-5 grams of protein, very little fat and eat it within 30-60 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
What is your favorite pre-workout snack? And how soon before exercise do you normally eat it?
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