Thinking about what you’ll eat after a workout is more common than thinking about what you’ll eat before. But what you consume to fuel your activity is just as important as what comes after. Not only what you eat, but the timing as well.Eating to fuel your workout is very beneficial. It can help you go longer, harder and faster.
Carbohydrates are the main source for feeding our energy stores. When carbs are digested, they are broken down into simple sugars. These are then absorbed into the bloodstream and are known has blood glucose. The glucose enters our body’s cells with insulin. Our bodies use the glucose for energy for all activity, such as exercise or simple bodily functions like breathing. What glucose isn’t used is then stored in the liver, our muscles and other cells to be used for later. It can also be stored as fat, but that is why serving sizes matter! While it can be stored as fat, carbs also help with the breakdown of fat when eaten in the correct portions.
Along with carbs to fuel our workouts, protein is just as important before as it is after. Just like protein’s purpose after exercise is to help repair and build muscle, consuming it before initiates this process. Eating a combination of high carb and moderate protein will promote energy for your next activity.
Here are some great examples for those preworkout items:
After you decide what you’ll have to eat, the next question will be when. This is an individual basis component. A good rule of thumb is to eat anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours before your activity. Some can handle it sooner, while others need more time between. This is something you should play around with to see how quickly your body digests these foods but also keeps you full enough to workout. If you need more time between eating and your exercise, your meal might be a bit bigger than someone who eats just before their workout.
Hydration is also vital before exercise. While we tend to drink up during and after a workout, it is important to hydrate your body before the activity. This can also help push you to go a little more during the session. We want to be covered with the anticipation of working up a good sweat.
Fueling your body before a training session is just as important as replenishing it afterward. Carbs increase our energy, while protein begins the process of muscle and tissue rebuilding. Play around with the timing of your preworkout snacks to find what fuels your exercises the best. Don’t forget to hydrate before, during and after to replace fluids after a sweaty session!