Eating Before Exercise, Why It's Important
Research shows the body burns the same amount of fat if you eat before exercise as if you don't. However, you can actually cause muscle loss/damage if you regularly work out on an empty stomach! If you exercise on an empty stomach, you're not giving yourself the fuel you need to power through an intense training session. Not to mention when you're hungry, your body goes into survival mode and draws protein from muscle. When this happens, you lose muscle mass, which can ultimately slow your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight.
What To Eat Before A Work Out: My Go To Meals
I have never been one to eat before a work out. Usually after I eat I do not have the motivation to work out so eating before a work out is still SO hard for me! I work out first thing in the morning (5am to be exact!) and usually I like to eat once I get to work... so changing this habit is STILL a struggle for me.
For me, it's easier to have a quick couple of go to meals to eat before working out...that way I don't get unmotivated after preparing something!
Whole wheat toast w/ sliced banana & cinnamon: It's making me hungry just thinking about it!! Carbs are great to digest before a work out...the key is to have a good mix of complex and simple carbs. Whole wheat toast w/ fruit gives you both types of carbs and is super easy to digest. If you are training for a race like I am, bananas are perfect for raising potassium levels. Add a dash of cinnamon as it has been linked to stabilizing blood sugar and improving brain function!
Greek Yogurt & Trail Mix: This is a great combo for runners! Yogurt is easy on your stomach and when you pair it with the right trail mix (not the kind with chocolate!!) it can be just what your body needs before that long run! Just make sure that you choose a trail mix that is mostly nut and dried fruit based. Healthy sugars from dried fruit can provide your body with a quick energy boost; seeds and nuts help to keep your insulin levels from dropping mid-run. With trail mix, a little goes a long way! Seeds and nuts are high in fat and take longer to digest. Eat too many and you could start feeling sluggish as you sweat!
Oatmeal w/ fresh fruits: Oatmeal is your best friend when working out! It tends to stick with you throughout your work out and gradually releases sugars into your bloodstream. Adding fruit to the mix will increase the fluid content & help keep you hydrated through out your work out.
Apple Slices w/ peanut or almond butter: Apples provide you with necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. To keep you stomach from feeling too hungry during your workout, try spreading peanut or almond butter on your slices!
Smoothies: These are a great before meal if you are in a hurry to head out to the gym. They are time friendly and building your own blend has tons of benefits! My foolproof formula for a yummy smoothie is your favorite fruit, sliced or cut. 1 cup greek yogurt. Add granola if you are looking for a thicker consistency.
There are so many different combinations out there, I love to get creative with mine!! If I see fruit is on sale somewhere, that is generally when I get more creative!