The most common question I get as a sports dietitian is "What should I eat before I workout?!", or even just "Do I need to eat before working out?", so let's talk about that! I'll be doing a Q&A about pre-workout fuel next week (10/14), but for now, I'd love to hear about your go-to's.
Spoiler: there's no perfect meal or snack to eat before you workout. I want to help you find something that works for you.
And in case you need some ideas, I'll be sharing some input from folx who answered this question via my Instagram (@heatherdcRD) story last week. 🙂
This is a great question! I've walked into many yoga classes still chewing a KIND bar (is that approved? I'm thinking not...). I hate working out on a completely empty stomach, so I usually just have something small like a protein bar, (KIND bar obviously), or even spoonful of almond butter and a couple crackers. Interested to learn whether there are foods I should avoid pre-workout!
Hah, if it works for you, it's approved! (And you don't need my approval 😉 ) I sometimes just opt for a quick spoonful of a nut butter, too. Not my first choice, but it works!
I'd say the other things to avoid are things that don't settle well in your stomach before a workout. And, of course, you'll find out quickly which foods make that list! But typically something that is higher in carbohydrates will 1) provide quickly available (and efficient) energy for the workout, and 2) (perhaps more importantly) digest a little faster than a high-protein option. But again, if you find that the KIND bar works for you, stick to it!
You may not notice a big difference and that's totally OK! For folx who really prefer to not eat before exercise in the early morning hours, I usually encourage them to eat something within at least 15-20 minutes after the workout, and then another meal/snack within at least 2 hours, to help make sure they're getting enough fuel. I also added a tip for getting in a snack *right away* if you're a very early riser, in this article. 🙂
Love seeing all the variety in your preferences! Goes to show that there's not one perfect solution to this fueling equation. 😉 I'm putting up a post tomorrow about how to plan your pre-workout fuel, and my go-to tip for adding in food before exercise...even if you workout first thing in the morning (as I usually do too)!
That's early! 🙂 Helps to have something as soon as you get home, especially that mix of carbohydrates and proteins. I always encourage folx to try and get something in before the workout, and added some tips for doing so in a recent article (here) . But totally get it doesn't work for everyone!