Question : I exercise first thing in the morning before work. Is it better to eat before, or after I work out?
Morning workouts aren’t for everyone, but for those who can handle the early wakeups, they wouldn’t have it any other way. The debate about whether to eat before or after your morning routine is a common dilemma.
Although some research suggests working out on an empty stomach will help with weight loss, the majority of evidence-based research shows that eating a small amount before you get started is better for your energy, stamina and weight-loss goals.
Despite what you have heard, working out on an empty stomach does not lead to more fat loss. Without fuel, you will feel sluggish and drained halfway through your routine, or worse yet you could feel faint.
Because most of us don’t want to wake up 60 to 90 minutes before our workouts (if you don’t need the sleep then you’re a machine!), it’s important to limit yourself to a snack before your workout and not munching on an entire meal.
Eating a snack at least 30 minutes prior to your warm-up will give your body enough time to digest and use it as fuel for your workout.
What to eat:
Fuel up with one of the following:
A shake with whey protein to jumpstart your muscle building while preventing excessive muscle breakdown.
A banana is considered one of the best pre-workout snacks because it is full of complex carbs, minerals such as potassium and fiber. Potassium aids in maintaining nerve and muscle function and it doesn’t stay in the body for long, so it will help keep your nutrient levels high.
Half a banana and a small Greek yoghurt have a complex carbs and protein combo that will ensure you are ready for an intense routine.
Whole grain toast and peanut butter will provide you will slow burning grains and protein packed peanuts to fuel your workout.
Oats are packed full of fiber, but not so much that they will cause gas. Oats also contain Vitamin B, which helps to convert carbohydrates into energy. One cup is enough to fuel your workout.
What to avoid:
If you don’t have any of the above list available, avoid the following pitfalls of the pre-workout snack. Don’t grab fatty foods because they will leave the stomach slowly, creating that full feeling that leads to fatigue.
Carbohydrates are good for fuel, but don’t get them from sugary foods or candy which will only lead to an insulin spike and crash midway through your cardio.
Avoid overeating. Remember this is a snack and not a full meal. The last thing you want is to cramp up or feel nauseous because you have consumed too much.