Figuring out whether to eat, when to eat, and what to eat before exercising can be a daunting challenge for even a seasoned gym rat. There are plenty of notions that have been drilled into our heads ever since we were told to wait an hour after eating before swimming — but are they true or false?
Meeting your workout nutrition needs isn’t easy. For one, everybody’s needs are unique, and different levels of exercise require different levels of nutrition. For today’s purposes, we’ll be discussing planning an eating schedule around a standard, medium-intensity gym session.
Figuring out when to work food into your gym routine can be really tricky. If you work out first thing in the morning, should you eat before exercising? If so, how much, and how far in advance of your workout?
The answers to these questions are both simple and complicated. If you’re a professional athlete, properly fueling for a workout or game can be a make-it-or-break-it endeavor. But thankfully, if you’re just heading to the gym for your daily session on the elliptical and mild weightlifting, when and what you eat is nothing to fret over. Read on for nine beliefs about eating before exercising, and if they’re true or false.
1. If You Exercise First Thing in the Morning, Don’t Eat Anything Beforehand
False. Your body craves fuel first thing in the morning, and if you head right to the gym without putting anything in it, you’ll find yourself fatiguing fast. Eat a little something — like a granola or protein bar — before your workout, and make sure to wash it down with lots of water.
2. Eat a Big, Carbohydrate-Rich Meal Before Exercising
False. Marathon runners can get away with eating a big bowl of spaghetti before running because it’ll give them sustained energy, but before a standard gym session it will just weigh you down. You should eat something that contains carbs and protein, but it doesn’t need to be huge.