In last week's post about becoming a morning exerciser, one commenter asked: "How do you address the question of when to eat...before exercise because you have fasted all night or after exercise as rewards and preparation for the day?"
That is a very good question and an important one; the wrong choice could backfire - and if you've ever eaten too much before a high intensity, high impact, jiggly kind of workout, you probably know what I'm talking about...ahem.
However, gastrointestinal issues aren't the only things to think about. You do want proper fueling for your workouts because, contrary to popular belief, you don't always burn more fat on an empty stomach. The problem is, morning, by its very definition, tends to come very early and most of us don't have a lot of time to lounge around digesting a large breakfast before a workout.
The trick is to experiment a little to find what will work for you and to keep a few things in mind:
- Avoid too much fat or protein right before your workout. These take longer to digest and could cause stomach problems.
- Keep it small and simple, if you're working out within an hour of getting up, say something between 100-300 calories. Juice, a sports drink, a small energy bar, yogurt, etc.
My favorite is a glass of water, a cup of coffee and a small yogurt or a Mini LUNA bar about 20 minutes before I exercise. Shereen, our Nutrition Guide says her favorites are: Cereal (not the sugary stuff - plain whole grain cereal) with non-fat milk and strawberries, Greek yogurt with blueberries, a slice of whole grain toast with almond butter and a cup of orange juice or, if she's in a hurry, breakfast bar or a small banana muffin.
And, of course, I want to hear from you. Do you eat before you workout? If so, what works best for you? Leave a comment and tell us about your exercise and eating habits.