Do you often wonder what you should eat before a workout? It isn’t necessarily what you eat before a workout that is so important rather than what you ate the few days prior to working out. It is important to keep your body fueled on an on going basis. Therefore, what you eat just before a workout isn’t as important as what you ate the few days prior to a long run, bike ride or hike, but is still important.
With all that said, there are three levels of intensity:
– High intensity, shorter time; activity usually lasts an hour or less (2-5 mile run, intense workout at the gym, tennis, hockey)
– Moderate intensity, moderate time; any activity that last between 1-3 hours long (half marathon, marathon, intense cycling or hiking)
– Low intensity, longer time; anything that last longer than 3 hours (long walk, bike ride, ironman events)
The most important factor in eating before exercise is to make sure what you are eating is easily digestible.
For a high intensity workout it is best to fuel your body with simple carbohydrate (fruits, dates) because once you eat them they go straight to the liver for immediate energy.
For a moderate workout it is good to fuel your body with about 5% protein, 35% fat and 60% carbohydrate. A good example would be a lara bar and some apple sauce.
For a low intensity workout it is important to be more balanced and eat something that is more along the range of 10% protein, 70% fat and 20% carbohydrates. An example would be 100% whole wheat pancakes with flax seed old and a banana.
As you can see the first thing our body wants during an intense work out is simple carbohydrates and once that is depleted, it moves on to complex carbohydrates.
A lil note on protein:
Some people think protein is good just before a intense work out, but what they don’t know is that too much protein requires more fluid to be metabolized than carbohydrates or fat, therefore, many people suffer from muscle cramping. More so if they aren’t hydrating daily. Protein is also meant for building muscle rather than fueling it.
Keeping hydrated daily will also decrease the amount of stress that is placed on the body, which will allow the body to work harder and perform better and usually requires less recovery time.
Side Note: I usually try to keep these posts short and sweet and this one just got out of hand. I hope it kept your interest and maybe you learned a thing or two. Again, you have to find what works for you, but hopefully you can use this as a mini guideline.