When and What to Eat Before the Gym
Written by Giles Howard Tuesday, 27 October 2009 19:32
Deciding when and what to eat before the gym is a major problem for a lot of people who exercise and want to avoid becoming hungry in the middle of a workout. Eating the wrong foods before you exercise could get in the way of your workout but eating nothing will leave you without enough energy to complete your exercise regimen.
First, let’s start by pointing out that the idea that you shouldn’t eat anything before the gym is largely a myth. Although you should consume less and lighter food as you get closer to going to the gym, this doesn’t mean that you should not eat anything at all.In fact, eating before the gym helps you make the most out of your workout by providing the body with the fuel it needs to build new muscle and make it through cardio routines.
So what should you eat?
Well, anytime roughly two hours or more before you go to the gym you can eat anything you’d like with little effect on your workout. With this much time before the gym, it’s perfectly all right to eat a full meal. Just be careful not to eat any foods that cause you gastrointestinal problems like heartburn or upset stomach.
Eating before the gym really only becomes tricky less than two hours before you start working out. It’s in this timeframe that you want to avoid big meals or fatty foods because both will make your workout more difficult.
Instead, try to eat carbohydrates and proteins once you’re under the two-hour mark. Also, as you get closer to working out, the size of your snack should decrease until about 30 minutes or less before the gym when you should only consume a few pieces of fruit or some cereal.
Of course, your pre-gym workout is determined by what kind of exercise you’ll be performing. If you’re working out to build muscle, you’ll want your snack to be a mix of carbs and protein. The carbs will keep you going and the protein will help you build muscle.
For individuals looking to bulk up, a whey protein supplement can be a good pre-gym snack. On the other hand, if you’re trying to lose weight through mainly cardio exercises and light strength training, your emphasis should be squarely on a mix of simple and complex carbohydrates.
In fact, a bit of sugar before the gym isn’t a bad thing but will actually help you complete your cardio workout. A few suggestions include: bananas, cereal, an almond butter sandwich, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or some trail mix.
Remember, make sure to drink plenty of water with whatever snack you choose before the gym. It’s important to stay hydrated and it will help your digestion.
Anyway, it’s important to eat something before the gym so that you don’t get hungry during your workout. Keep your snacks small the closer you get to the gym but don’t avoid food entirely. There’s no harm in eating a few bananas before you work out and they should actually help you complete your workout without tiring. Depending on your goals, you will need to consume the appropriate amount of calories, so use our calorie calculator to see what your body needs.
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