There’s a myth that you should exercise on an empty stomach if you want to lose weight or build stamina. Then there’s this mindset of eating just before a workout. But stuffing yourself right before the exercise is not a good idea because the digestion system will kick on and you might not feel 100% while working out. You can eat something in small amount 30 minutes before working out but pre-fueling two to three hours before is preferred for complete digestion.
Why Should You Eat Before Working Out?
To get the most out of your workout, without feeling nauseated or light-headed, you should consume at least some form of macronutrients. Lower levels of blood glucose can hinder you from sustaining high-intensity workouts – thus, it can be very counterproductive, and you will not see any evident progress. That is why you must pre-fuel, especially if you are planning on gaining more muscle mass.
Working out on an empty stomach can be counter-productive for it suppresses appetite and lowers your basal metabolic rate. This will make it harder for you to meet your daily calorie count for maintaining your weight and increasing muscle mass.
Pre workout supplements can be a great option because they are packed with the right nutrients and protein.
Pre-workout Snacks When You Are Short on Time
Even if you are facing a time crunch, do not start exercising on an empty stomach. Grab a snack that has a combination of carbohydrates and proteins – these will provide your body with the instant energy needed for effectively working out. Picking out natural food items like a banana, a handful of dried fruits, trail mix without chocolate and yogurt, peanut butter, apple with peanut butter, add chia seeds and raisins for a fancier snack. These can be eaten alone or in combination to meet your daily carbs and protein requirement.
Pre-fueling Meals for High-Intensity Work Out
High-intensity workouts require proper meal planning. Prepare your food so that you do not end up snacking too much or consume too sugary food items that will give you a sugar rush. If your goal is bodybuilding, then prepare a meal that is not too heavy and has equal parts of lean protein and carbs. These include egg whites, whey protein, wheat pasta, brown rice, steamed vegetables, fruits, and chicken or turkey.
If you are trying to lose weight, have a meal two or three hours before exercising. This should include complex carbohydrates and lean protein. Half a cup of whole-grain pasta and rice, hummus with crackers, peanut butter with fruits and nuts, oatmeal with raisins and berries. Bear in mind that these foods will give you the energy to work out for a longer period – while properly burning out fat as well.
Foods that Boost Performance
Energy packed foods can improve performance. These will make you want to look forward to your workout and do not even require elaborate preparation time. Parfait, which includes Greek yogurt fruit and granola, is a classic pre-workout treat. This easy, three-ingredient recipe will provide you with an ample amount of energy to make it through several reps. You may also add cottage cheese to your parfait for meeting your daily low-cal, high protein requirements. Orange smoothie with your favorite protein powder is another killer combo! Or the blueberry banana smoothie with yogurt, almond, and milk – this energy-packed smoothie will certainly bring out the beast at the gym. A quick gluten-free rice cake and almond butter snack will help you refuel for a strenuous workout after a hectic day. Almond, coconut mocha smoothie will give you the kick you need to get out of your bed and head to the gym.
Things You Should Avoid Eating
Pre-fueling certainly does not mean consuming a massive amount of junk before exercising – in the hopes of burning it off instantly. That is why you must not consume milk and high-fiber foods since they upset the stomach. Warm fluids increase the rate of peristalsis, making you feel sick if you exercise instantly after drinking them. High-fat foods make you feel lethargic and heavy during exercise; thus you must certainly avoid them.
Finally, Stay Hydrated Throughout
You must always carry a flask of lukewarm water for intervals of rest between your workouts. Water not only helps you stay hydrated but it also effectively flushes out toxins from your body. This reduces cramps, increases sweat production and improves your performance.