People often ask what they should eat before and after they exercise. Eating a large meal just before you exercise can cause nausea, sluggishness or muscle cramps. This happens because your body needs energy to digest the foods you eat and blood flow increases to your digestive system leaving less energy-providing blood for muscles.
Skipping meals before exercising can cause low blood sugar, which makes you weak and light-headed. When it comes to eating and exercise, timing, quantity and the type of exercise you’re doing make all the difference.
If you are having a full breakfast and doing a high-intensity activity (such as running, aerobics or kickboxing) give yourself 3-4 hours for your food to digest.
If your workout is more gentle (a long walk, for instance) you can get away with eating closer to your workout time.
Choosing foods that are high in carbohydrates and moderate in protein will satisfy your hunger, be easily digested and help normalize your blood sugar.
Examples of Pre-Exercise (1-2 hours) Snacks:
Portion sizes will vary depending on weight management goals, tolerance, and timing of exercise.
Apple and almond butter
Low-fat soup (vegetable, chicken noodle, etc.)
½ Peanut butter & jelly sandwich (choose natural peanut butter and a fruit spread sweetened without corn syrup)
Banana and lowfat yogurt
Berries and cottage cheese
½ Clif Bar, Luna Teacakes, ½ Sunrise Nutrition Bar
After Exercise Eating Tips
Eating the right foods after you exercise is essential to helping your muscles recover. You should eat carbohydrates (such as a piece of fruit, raw veggies or whole-grain crackers) as soon as possible after exercising (within 1 hour), and eat protein (a hard-boiled egg, nuts, turkey, chicken, etc.) within two hours of your workout. Experiment with different foods and timing and you’ll easily find the combination that feels best for your body.
Don’t Forget Water
Your pre-workout hydration status plays a very important role in your performance. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue and cramping—all of which interfere with successful exercise.
From Sarah: Nora has so much to offer that will make you feel stronger, fresher and more vibrant. Visit her website to find out more about how to improve your exercise routine and so much more.