Woman with pre-workout smoothie prepares for a run


What to eat before a workout

If you asked five people their opinions about what to eat before exercising, you will probably get five different responses. One thing everyone does agree on is that eating the wrong thing beforehand is the worst feeling. We get those aches and pains during a workout from a full or empty stomach because the blood used to digest foods in the stomach is also required by the muscles for exercise.

For the majority of exercisers who work out or strength train for 30-45 minutes a few days a week, the most important thing is maintaining consistent good nutrition. 

Rise and shine
For those who prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, there seems to be a split between those who prefer to exercise on an empty stomach and those who need a simple snack. More intense exercise, such as running between three and five miles, may require  a small, carbohydrate-rich snack whereas getting on a treadmill or elliptical for 30 minutes could be done on an empty stomach with just some water. 

Snack options:

  • ½ banana with some natural nut butter
  • slice of toast with nut butter or sliced avocado
  • ½ cup of yogurt with some berries or granola
  • small liquid meal such as a milk and fruit smoothie 

Afternoon avengers
Depending on the timing and amount of food eaten at breakfast, the lunch break exercisers may not need to eat before a 30-45 minute workout. For those who eat breakfast very early or prefer lighter fare, any of the snacks listed above will get the job done, or consider:

  • ½-1 oz of nuts and a small piece of fruit
  • some raw veggies with hummus

Eating one of these options 30-60 minutes before exercising should be enough fuel for your workout session.

Hydration – all the time
Staying hydrated is extremely important. The majority of our body is water and it's essential for many of our body's daily tasks. Paired with drinking water throughout the day, the best pre-workout meal or snack is one that works best for you.


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