What Should I Eat Before Working Out?


Question: What should you eat before working out? I have tried everything and still end up feeling bad before I finish.

Answer: The best answer is what should you not eat before working out. We have clients who have tried a variety of foods before training and concluded that no food within a couple of hours prior to training is the only way for them not to feel sick.

These are a couple of examples of What not to eat. If you’re training, especially in the morning, a sausage biscuit from anywhere is a bad idea. The biscuits feel heavy in your stomach and the sausage is filled with saturated fats. You’re going to see it again before you’re finished with your training. Cold cereal with milk, especially the highly sugared variety, is almost certain to return. What happens is the cereal which is loaded with glucose and sucrose carbohydrates quickly elevates your blood sugar levels. Your body automatically responds by releasing insulin from the pancreas to deal with the blood sugar. When you’re training your body needs stored sugar ( glycogen) for muscle contraction which is an anaerobic activity. The high levels of insulin interfere with that process and you begin to feel clammy. Then it progresses to light-headed and if you continue to train, you’re going to throw up. The good news is after throwing up, you feel better almost immediately.

In general heavy meals are out of the question. You’re going to feel bad. Greasy foods will return and foods that are high on the glycemic index will also.

In the mornings a small serving of oatmeal with fresh or frozen fruit or honey is acceptable. A small banana works as well. Though you may think a because a banana is a fruit it would increase blood sugar but it won’t. The sugar in a banana has to be converted to glucose and then converted to glycogen for storage in the liver or muscles.

It’s difficult to train when your stomach is growling so eating is important before training. Just experiment and find those foods that you like and are light in your stomach. Try to have your meals completed, at least, an hour before you workout.

If you eat close to the time you train and the digestive process is occurring, it can upset your stomach.

After you train, food, especially protein is important for growth.

Don’t drink too much water either. If you can hear the water you drank sloshing around while you workout, it can make you feel off as well.

God bless and keep training,