One of the most common questions women ask me is:
“Marci when and what kinds of foods should I be eating when I exercise”
It’s a valid question and it’s also an important one. First, you should never exercise right after you’ve eaten a meal – it’s the worst feeling ever. While you exercise your body needs oxygen to supply your muscles, and the only way for your muscles to get oxygen is through your bloodstream. After you eat, blood is mainly in your stomach area to help with digestion.
Exercising right after you eat will cause a higher demand on your blood supply. Your body will need blood for exercising as well as for digestion. And when you do this it can result in cramps, getting a stitch on one side of your body, and can cause your stomach to become upset.
You can use the time frame below to help you plan your eating schedule before you exercise:
Big Meal – 2 hours before workout
Small meal – 1 hour before workout
Snack – 30-45 minutes before workout
Knowing what to eat is another key factor. You should avoid any fatty foods before your workout. Fat’s take longer to digest than other foods and can cause your blood to pool in your abdominal area for a longer period of time.
Also avoid eating simple sugars (alone) as a pre workout snack. Unlike fat’s, simple sugars digest faster and don’t compete for blood supply. However, the can cause a surge of insulin to be released. This can cause your blood sugar level to drop even lower, which means that you were better off not eating that chocolate bar or orange for a pre-workout snack. At this point you can just wave “good-bye” to your energy cause it’s gone!
High fibre foods are another pre-workout food you want to stay away from. These foods slow down your digestion, leaving less oxygen for your muscles. They can also cause your stomach to get upset, and you don’t want that to happen when you’re about to enjoy a workout.
A snack that you should eat before working out should consist of complex carbohydrates. Starchy foods like, whole grain bread or pasta, eaten at least 2 hours prior to your workout will give you the best results. You can also combine the complex carbs with a small amount of protein to help prolong your energy.
So hopefully this advice will help change your eating schedule and give you a bit more insight as to what your body requires when it comes to fueling your body.