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Eating Before a Workout

If you have any pre-existing health condition, like diabetes or others, consult your physician before starting a new exercise program.

Do What is Right for You.

First things first, don’t overthink what to eat. People often feel overwhelmed by the “proper” timing of meals, exercise, carbs vs proteins, when to drink water, etc. The best way to learn what type of eating schedule is best for you and your body, is to learn the symptoms of eating too much or eating too little, then experiment with different eating patterns. With this said, this brief guide may give some insight about what to do. 

Avoiding Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

The number one goal of eating BEFORE exercising is to make sure you’re not going to become hypoglycemic during your workout. Hypoglycemic means low blood sugar, and exercise may induce hypoglycemia if your nutrition didn’t prepare you for your workout. If you do end up getting hypoglycemic, you will likely feel lightheaded, shaky, or unusually fatigued. In extreme cases people might get confused, faint, or even have a seizure. Even mild cases of exercise induced hypoglycemia will compromise the quality of your exercise, impact the efficiency of your entire program, and will prolong you reaching your goals. 

What to Eat:

To ensure you have enough blood sugar to get you through a workout, eat 30-60 grams of complex carbs 30-60 minutes before starting your exercise. For reference, a large banana contains 30g of carbs. Even if you’re not concerned about excessive fatigue caused by low blood sugar, eating prior to working out will provide energy for optimal performance during your exercise. 

Complex carbs are sugars found in whole grains and whole foods. Most fruits and veggies are going to be rich in complex carbs and are good options. Here are some good snack ideas that are easy to make and delicious: 

bananas, berries. granola & yogurt, oatmeal, whole wheat breads, quinoa/rice & veggies.

Behold: the banana! My personal favorite pre & post workout snack.

When Should I Have a Full Meal?

If your stomach is full while you’re trying to get exercise, you may get cramps and feel slow and sluggish during your workout. These negative effects are caused by your stomach demanding more of your body’s blood flow to digest the food. You should avoid having a full meal 2-3 hours before your exercise, or just wait until after you finish working out to eat a meal.


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