To Eat or Not To Eat…Before Exercise – that is the question we hear often from people not only following Chris’ Carb Cycling program in his book Choose to Lose but those just working out to stay fit or following their own dietary plan.
The good news is there really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question! “Well, that’s helpful,” you’re probably saying. But it’s true. Whether or not you eat before a workout depends on your body, when you exercise, and how long you exercise. Here are some basic guidelines:
- If you exercise first thing in the morning, you can get away with not eating anything or you can eat a light snack. Some ideas: a banana, a piece of bread (plain or toasted, and whole wheat, of course!), a bit of natural peanut butter, etc.
- If you workout later in the day, it’s probably best to wait 30-45 minutes after eating before you exercise, and even longer if your last meal was on the heavy side.
- If your workout is longer than 60 minutes, it’s a good idea to eat a light snack before exercising because you don’t want your body to run out of energy before your workout is finished.
- What works best for me is to split my meal in two and eat half before I exercise and half after I’m finished. That way I have some extra energy for my workout.
One caution: Some people experience nausea or, shall we say, “intestinal distress” if they eat before exercising, so if you choose to eat pre-workout, start small and gauge how your body reacts.
And the most important thing to remember is to listen to your body. Figuring out what works best for you might take a little bit of trial and error, but once you figure it out, you’ll be good to go. Literally.