I have a confession: I’ve never been one to eat before a workout. In fact, I typically start my day with a coffee in-hand on my way to a yoga class or to the gym. I realize that this isn’t a good habit to have, however it was not until I recently did some research that I started to realize just how bad this routine was for me and for my workout.
After some investigation, I realized that exercising on an empty stomach meant that I was jeopardizing my energy level for the rest of the day and drastically undermining my immune system. Making sure that our bodies get the proper nutrients before and after a workout is a BIG deal, as it maximizes the benefits of our sweat sessions, balances our energy by keeping our blood sugar levels stabilized, and improves our immune and digestive system functioning.
So how can we fuel our bodies correctly pre and post-sweat sesh?
If You Workout in the Morning
It’s best to eat within 30 minutes of waking up so you can jump-start your metabolism. Try having a few bites of oatmeal or half of a banana. Remember, having something is your system is better than nothing at all.
If You Workout in the Afternoon
If you are hungry before your workout, eat a light snack. Try foods like a small bowl of oatmeal, a banana, apple slices with peanut butter or muscle milk. It’s also best to skip foods that are high in fat and anything spicy before working out to avoid feeling sluggish and getting an upset stomach.
After Your Workout
Try to eat within 30 minutes after your workout so your body doesn’t start burning muscle. It’s important to include some form of protein, so grab a handful or almonds or stir up a protein shake. After the initial post-workout snack, eat small meals every 3 hours throughout the rest of the day. You should at least have a small bite even if you’re not hungry. This will prevent you from waiting too long to eat and then overeating because you feel starving.
It’s also highly important to make sure you are hydrated before you hit the gym. Try to drink two to three cups of water a few hours before a workout. Remember to bring your DYLN Water Bottle with you so that you can refill as necessary. Hydrate throughout the day to replace all the water you lost while sweating it out.