To Eat or Not to Eat Before a Workout: Fitness Fuel Q&A

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To Eat or Not to Eat Before a Workout: Fitness Fuel Q&A
You should eat or not eat before a workout? The short answer to the dilemma of fuel fitness depends.
Ready for a longer answer?

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To Eat Before a Workout

Many fitness experts, including here in Sworkit recommend that you eat something before every workout.

Woman sitting on floor in gym eating banana next to barbell with weights

What you choose to eat will depend largely on your personal preferences and the type of training that will participate.

Foods for Cardio

If you are planning a cardio blast, conventional wisdom has always been that you should eat carbohydrates. The evidence, however, suggests a strategy different fuel supply.

Choose a pre-workout meal that’s low in fat and sugar, moderate in protein and high in carbs, like a smoothie made with almond milk, banana and berries. (Health)

Twenty minutes after the cardio workout, ensure re-fuel prioritizing carbohydrates and proteins.

Foods for HIIT

Eating before training high intensity interval (HIIT) may be a bit of a mixture. While your body needs fuel, the types of exercises you will do makes it more likely to feel sick degree in training on a full stomach.

If you are eating in preparation for high-intensity training, allow enough time between the session fueling and training to reduce your chances of experiencing nausea or cramps. While everyone’s body may react differently, it is recommended to eat at least 60 to 90 minutes before your workout.

As for what foods are best for feeding a HITT workout, we recommend any combination of the following:

  • Raw vegetables (carrots, celery, broccoli)
  • Dried cranberries or raisins
  • Lunchmeat slices
  • Chocolate chips
  • Mini pretzels

Remember to eat these foods in combination for the best effect.

Foods for Muscle Building

If your training will focus on strength training, you need to prioritize your intake of protein in pre-workout food.

When we do strength training exercises such as weight lifting, we create small tears in our muscle fibers. At rest, the body repairs the micro-tears building your muscles bigger and stronger than they were before and you need protein to do so. Go for protein sources that are easy to digest as Greek yogurt nuts, a slice of turkey, a boiled egg, or a glass of regular milk or soy. (Self)

While there are definite health benefits to feed pre-workout, there are also legitimate reasons why you may choose abstinence.

See Also: The 6 Best Foods to Eat After Your Next Workout For Weight Loss

Female runner tying her shoes preparing for a run a jog outside

Not to Eat Before a Workout

Certainly there are times when it is appropriate to refrain from eating before a workout.

Some people wake up very early in the morning and leave immediately. Whether you are lifting weights or go for an early morning run, they find that they have neither the time nor the inclination to wake up even earlier to eat and allow time to adjust the bodies before making exercise.

The same is true of people who go to the gym on the way home from work in the evenings. They may find that is best for their schedules and their bodies is formed first and then feed.

If this describes you, we understand. Just I know that if you do not eat before exercise, it is doubly important that you take time to do it later. Even if you are eating to lose weight, you still have to give your body the nutrients it needs to recover.

We Can Help

Whether you choose to eat or not eat before a workout, the key is to know your body, which is capable of, and what conditions help you achieve your potential best training.

We are much more than just a fitness app. We are real people committed to helping keep fit and active regardless of the particular circumstances.

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