Scheduling exercise into a busy lifestyle can be a challenge, and planning meals and snacks around the exercise is another. Eating too much food, or the wrong food before exercise, can hamper your performance or cause indigestion, sluggishness, nausea and vomiting. On the other hand, if you haven’t eaten in six hours and try to work out, you may feel weak and unmotivated. The type and time of meal is important. A large breakfast may be troublesome if you are going for a morning run, but it is fine for a jog before lunch.In terms of food, your goal should be to have fuel in your body from nutritious food that is no longer present in your stomach at the time of your workout. The pre-exercise food prevents hunger during exercise. Carbohydrates are easily digested, but foods high in protein and fat may linger in the stomach for some time, depending on how much you ate. Large meals can take up to six hours to empty from the stomach.
Snacks, depending on their content, take about an hour to leave your stomach. Eating a high-carbohydrate snack two hours before exercising can leave you ample energy and a calm stomach for a great workout. Many athletes avoid food within two hours of a very hard workout, but can tolerate a lighter snack within one to two hours of a light workout.
Pre-Exercise Eating Tips
Depending on how heavy a meal you have eaten, wait at least 30 minutes to two hours before exercising. The bigger the meal the longer you will need to wait. If you just eat a light snack such as pretzels or a fruit drink, you should be ready to work out within 30 minutes.
|Eating and Your Exercise Routine
If you exercise first thing in the morning, some fruit or a small amount of juice and water should suffice. If you exercise mid-morning, then a breakfast high in carbohydrates will help give you the energy you need to get through your workout. A bowl of oatmeal, wholegrain toast and jam are good choices. If you exercise in the late morning before lunch, you may want to try eating a light snack before working out and then a carbohydrate- and protein-rich lunch (such as a turkey sandwich) that will replenish your body stores after you exercise. People who work out later in the afternoon, from noon to 3 p.m., probably do not have to eat anything before a workout provided they have eaten a well-balanced lunch and breakfast. However, if you exercise closer to dinner, a light snack, like a bowl of yogurt or fruit, will provide some energy. When exercising after dinner, just make sure to wait an appropriate amount of time depending on the size of your meal.
Do What Works for You
Keep a Food and Exercise Diary
Post-Exercise Eating Tips
In addition, consumption of protein is necessary during your post-exercise meal. It will help rebuild the tissues damaged during your workout. In addition, protein will facilitate carbohydrate storage to improve recovery if it is consumed with carbohydrates during the initial two hours after a workout.