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What to Eat Before You Work Out

I am definitely a morning workout person. I like to get up at 5 am or 6 am and head to the gym to work out before getting busy with the day ahead. At the beginning of my fitness journey, I was new to weightlifting but enjoyed challenging my strength. When I started weightlifting, I would go to the gym on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. This would help me burn the fat, right? I quickly learned that the method did not work for my body. It left me feeling tired, dizzy, and weak during my workout. I was compromising my metabolism and performance. Your body deserves to be fueled before I push its limits.


I hear a lot of different advice on what you should eat before your workout. The most common saying I hear is that you should consume protein before and after your workout. Is that really the best pre-workout snack? You want to avoid cramps but still give your body enough performance energy. Protein is important in muscle recovery but does not give the body direct energy. When the body is not getting enough energy from carbohydrates, it will turn to fatty acids and protein to break down which requires even more energy from your body.


Carbohydrates are the body’s direct source of carbohydrates which get broken down into glucose and stored as glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles and broken down when energy is needed. In the fasted state, glycogen is reduced by eighty percent. To increase glycogen storage, more carbohydrates must be consumed. Increasing glycogen storage before your workout allows your body to utilize glycogen energy to contract muscles. Studies suggest that consuming carbohydrates an hour before your workout provides performance benefits.


Try to avoid high-fiber and high-protein foods before your workout because these food items result in delayed digestion. Focus on easily digestible carbohydrates such as fruit, bread, energy bars, yogurt, or oats!



References:

  • Ormsbee, Michael J et al. “Pre-exercise nutrition: the role of macronutrients, modified starches and supplements on metabolism and endurance performance.” Nutrients vol. 6,5 1782-808. 29 Apr. 2014, doi:10.3390/nu6051782

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