Since carbohydrates are so important to your body’s engine, what you eat before a workout should be relatively high in carbohydrate. A little bit of protein is good too. It will slow digestion—just enough to allow the carbohydrates to enter the bloodstream a little more slowly and steadily. But you don’t want to eat a lot of fat right before you head out—it can slow digestion too much and leave you feeling uncomfortably full. Save your high fibre foods for afterwards, since they also take a while to work their way through your system.
When You Should Eat Before a Workout
There are specific guidelines for meal timing, but in reality you have to go with what feels right. Some people can eat as usual for their pre-workout meal, while others prefer a lighter load in the stomach. Generally speaking, the longer you have to digest your meal before you start working out, the larger and more solid your meal can be.
If you’re going to be working out within an hour after eating, then you’ll want a small, semi-solid or liquid meal. A smoothie, for example, would be light and easy to digest. If you’re going to work out in the mid-afternoon, a regular, well-balanced meal at lunch should have you covered. If you’ve got a hard workout scheduled right before dinner, you’ll need a light snack in the mid-afternoon—a carton of low-fat yogurt with some fruit would work.
How Much You Should Eat Before a Workout
Some athletes like to know exactly what they should eat before a workout, and the guidelines are very specific. Most people just use the ‘trial and error’ method until they figure out the eating schedule that works for them. The longer you have to digest, the more you can eat for your pre-workout meal.