Planning your gym workout to fit into a busy day can be a challenge, especially if you aren’t sure whether it’s beneficial to eat before exercising. Learn about the benefits of pre-workout nutrition or fasting to decide which option is right for you.
To Eat or Not to Eat
Advantages to Pre-Workout Eating
If you are going to eat before a workout, make sure that you consume your meal three or four hours before you hit the track, pool, or gym. Eating the right foods ahead of time ensures that your muscles have plenty of energy to get through the activity and provide the right amino acids for recovering after your workout. If it isn’t possible to eat that far in advance, make sure that you eat at least 45 minutes prior to working out. The snack or meal should be easy to digest, ideally consisting of carbs and a little protein.
What to Eat Before a Workout
For short, high-intensity workouts, a combination of carbs and protein are the best choices. Complex carbohydrates, such as legumes, whole grains, and starchy veggies will refill the muscle's glycogen stores, which fuel intense exercise. Protein is essential for rebuilding muscle that has been broken down during exercise. It has also been shown to lead to increased muscle performance, strength, and lean body mass. Healthy fats are best for longer duration and moderate- to low-intensity workouts, but a little fat is beneficial for any gym session.
If you’re able to eat between two and four hours before hitting the gym, eat a sandwich with lean protein and avocado and a side salad. Or choose quinoa, lentils, and veggies, or a veggie omelet with some fruit. If the window is narrower, choose a whey protein shake with fruit, a nut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread, or some oatmeal. If you’re eating right before a workout, choose a protein bar with low sugar, a banana, or a small container of yogurt.
Fasting Before a Workout
Those who specifically want to lose weight may benefit from fasting before exercise, as the body will burn stored fat instead of glucose. However, research is inconclusive whether or not regular fasting before workouts leads to long term weight loss in every person. Most research shows that exercise less than an hour in duration is not affected by fasting or eating, so it comes down to individual preferences. In other words, don’t skip your workout if you haven’t eaten.
For a gym that fits your lifestyle, choose Cloud 10 Transformation. With locations in Owings Mills, Glen Burnie, Laurel, and Largo, MD, they’re committed to teaching healthy lifestyle choices and pride themselves on their “Community First, Fitness Second” transformation solutions. Call (301) 483-0555 to inquire about membership and classes in any location, or visit the website to learn about their 30-day trial.