If you’ve always heard that you should starve yourself before a workout to force your body to burn calories, you heard wrong. “Don’t eat before a workout and force your body to burn fat” is one of those myths that sound logical, but has been proven wrong. It actually is extremely detrimental to anyone trying to get fit, whether attempting to lose weight or not. Choosing the best pre-workout foods is very important, however, to accomplishing your fitness goal and maintaining good health.
Don’t eat big and don’t chow down just before a workout.
You have to be sensible about what you eat. You don’t want to leave a huge buffet where you chowed down on heavy fatty foods and try to workout on a full belly. That will just leave you with cramps and abdominal pain, especially if your workout is of the high intensity nature. Eating a mix of carbohydrates and protein about 30 minutes to an hour before a hard workout can prepare your body by providing the fuel to put forth the effort. It can prevent dizziness and give you the energy to work your hardest.
Eat a late mid-morning snack before a lunch workout.
Timing your “light” meal can help you have the energy you need to work your hardest without having your blood sugar level drop. If you’re working out in the morning, as soon as you get up, eat a slice of whole grain toast topped with a nut butter and a few slices of bananas. The bread provides carbs, nut butter provides protein, while the banana gives you potassium. By the time you begin your workout, 30 to 45 minutes should have elapsed. Your body fasted all night, give it a little fuel. If you’re using your lunch hour, eat a late mid-morning snack to keep within the time frame. The same is true for a late afternoon snack when exercising after work.
Don’t sit on the couch if you’ve over-indulged.
The warning about exercising after a meal shouldn’t stop you from a walk. There are studies that show a moderately to leisurely paced walk after a big meal can aid the body in relieving the bloated feeling by aiding digestion. It also helps lower blood sugar levels and gets food moving through your body faster. While a high intensity workout is never recommended, a comfortably paced walk after a heavy meal will make you feel better, be healthier for your body and burn a few of the calories you consumed.
Eating a low glycemic and fructose free meal two hours before working out can stimulate the body to burn fat. Foods with a high glycemic level increases insulin levels and prevents fat burning. High fructose levels also slows fat burning.
For a quick snack in the morning before a workout, boil a hard-boiled egg the night before and eat it with a carb, such as crackers or toast.
Lean protein, whole grains and nuts before working out is a good snack. One example is a slice of cheese or some Greek yogurt on a toasted bagel. You can even top it with a low fructose fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries or bananas.
Oatmeal with nut butter can keep you going or just add energy with a handful of nuts if you want to keep it simple.