Eating and working out are inextricably linked. Whether you’re doing a casual workout or preparing for a competition, timing and what you eat can affect how you feel while exercising.
1. Eat a nutritious breakfast
According to research, eating or drinking carbohydrates before exercising can boost workout performance and allow you to work out for longer periods of time or at a higher intensity without feeling sluggish or dizzy.
Eat a light meal or drink something like a sports drink if you plan to workout within an hour of breakfast. Carbohydrates should be prioritized for optimum energy.
Breakfast choices include:
- Whole-grain cereals or bread
- Low-fat milk
- A banana
- A pancake
2. Pay attention to portion sizes
When it comes to how much you eat before exercising, be careful not to overdo it. The following are some general guidelines:
- Large portions; Eat these three to four hours before working out.
- Snacks or small meals; Eat these one to three hours before working out.
You may feel lethargic if you eat too much before exercising. Too little food may not provide you with the energy you require to stay strong throughout your workout.
3. Good snacking
Snacks consumed shortly before exercise are unlikely to provide additional energy if your training is shorter than 60 minutes long, but they may help you avoid distracting hunger sensations. If your training lasts longer than 60 minutes, consuming a carbohydrate-rich food or beverage may be beneficial. Snacks to consider include:
- An energy bar
- A banana, an apple or other fresh fruit
- A fruit smoothie
- A whole-grain bagel or crackers
- A low-fat granola bar
- A peanut butter sandwich
- Sports drink or diluted juice
4. Eat after your workout
Consume a meal that combines both carbohydrates and protein within two hours of your workout session to aid muscle recovery and replenish glycogen levels. Following are some good post-workout snack options:
- Yogurt and fruit
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Low-fat chocolate milk and pretzels
- Post-workout recovery smoothie
- Turkey on whole-grain bread with vegetables
5. Drink up
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that you stay hydrated during activity by:
- Drink around 2 to 3 cups (473 to 710 ml) of water two to three hours prior to your workout.
- During your workout, drink around 1/2 to 1 cup (118 to 237 ml) of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Amounts should be adjusted according to your body size and the weather.
- For every pound (0.5 kg) of weight you shed throughout your workout, drink 2 to 3 cups (473 to 710 ml) of water afterward.