One of the most important components of exercise you may not take into account is how you fuel it.
Proper nutrition should be an important aspect of everyone’s lives, but especially when exercise comes into play. What you decide to put into your bodies before a workout can impact results and your overall health.
“Consume a balanced meal with protein and carbohydrates two to three hours before exercise,” says Dr. Jason Howell
, a family medicine physician at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.
It’s also important to take into consideration how much you eat before exercising. As the digestive system and muscles compete for energy, too much food intake prior to exercising can cause diarrhea and cramping. Conversely, too little nutrition before exercising can cause low blood sugar levels and impede a workout by causing weakness, reduced mental capacity and slow reaction times.
Here are three examples of foods to eat before exercising:
- A peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole-grain bread
- Yogurt and granola
- Veggie omelet with toast
Dr. Howell recommends avoiding fibrous foods like broccoli and beans and high-fat foods like ice cream or burgers, as both groups can be hard to digest. He also warns athletes to make sure they eat something that agrees with their digestive system before they head out for exercise.
Eating the right foods at the right time can be a game changer.