An ideal pre-workout snack should contain carbohydrates and protein but not be too high in fiber or fat. Not only can high-fiber or high-fat foods make you feel bloated during your workout, but they may contain too many calories for effective weight loss.
Foods that may help you fuel up before a workout include:
- Whole grain toast with unsweetened peanut or almond butter
- Oatmeal with nuts
- Orange juice (unsweetened, 200 mL)
- Berry smoothie
- Low-fat yogurt with diced fruits or granola
- Trail mix
- Hard boiled egg
- Granola bar
- Whey protein shake or bar
- Boiled quinoa
Is eating before a workout necessary?
Whether you need to eat (and what you should eat) before a workout depends on your individual preferences and other factors such as:
- Type of workout (weight training or cardio)
- Intensity of workout
- Time of workout (morning, afternoon, or evening)
- Existing health conditions (such as diabetes)
- Your fitness goals
For high-intensity workouts, doctors always advise eating something before you sweat it out.
Can you fast before a workout?
If your workout isn’t intense or long (i.e., a 30-minute walk or moderate-intensity exercise), experts suggest that it is okay to work out on an empty stomach early in the morning. Doing cardio in the fasting state can help you reach a fat-burning zone faster and aid in weight loss.
However, whether you want to exercise in a fasting state or not depends on you—if you feel too hungry when you wake up in the mornings or you have blood sugar issues, it may be better to have a light snack before your workout.
What are the benefits of a pre-workout snack?
While eating before a workout is optional, eating the right type of pre-workout snack may have benefits such as:
What foods should you avoid before a workout?
Eating certain foods before a workout can cause side effects such as feeling bloated, heavy, sleepy, or gassy. Here’s what to avoid:
- Fatty or greasy foods
- High-fiber foods such as broccoli or raw vegetables
- Milk and other dairy products (if you are lactose intolerant)
- Too much caffeine
- Carbonated drinks including sodas
- Artificial sweeteners such as sugar alcohols (sorbitol and xylitol)
If you are planning to exercise after a larger meal like lunch, make sure you wait at least 3-4 hours. If you had a smaller meal, wait at least 1-3 hours. This is because if you exercise too soon after eating, you may have problems with digestion that may hinder your fitness performance.
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