Nutrition is known as the process of utilizing food for growth and replacement of tissue. What you eat affects your energy level, well-being, and overall health. Many professional indicate that as much as 80% of your weight loss and fitness results are based on what you eat. Eating good health meals can supply your body with a great energy source so you can complete a great workout.
Stock up on bundles of energy prior to your workout by including a nutritious snack. Eating before exercise, as opposed to exercising in the fasting state, has been shown to improve performance and is a great way to boost stamina and endurance. The purpose of a pre-workout snack is to:
- Help prevent a low blood sugar which can wreck havoc on your energy level resulting in light-headedness and loss of concentration.
- Top up your muscle and liver carbohydrate stores to provide lasting energy for the duration of your workout, and
- Prevent hunger during your workout
Pre-workout Snack Guidelines
Food preferences for pre-workout snacks will vary depending on the individual, type of exercise and level of intensity. For example, endurance athletes can often eat more during a long slow cycle when their heart rate is lower, than while running or training at a higher heart rate. Experiment with the following guidelines to help determine an appropriate snack for you. Choose a snack that:
- Contains a sufficient amount of fluid to maintain hydration.
- Is low in fat and fiber to facilitate gastric emptying and minimize GI distress.
- Is high in carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, rice, pasta, and cereals to maintain blood glucose levels, and maximize carbohydrate stores.
- Contains some protein for staying power throughout your workout.
- Is low in simple sugars such as candy. They can send your blood sugar level shooting down, leading to a severe drop in energy.
The more time you allow between eating and exercise, the larger the quantity of food you will be able to eat. Allow more digestion time before intense exercise than before low-level activity. Your muscles require more blood during intense exercise, and therefore less blood will be available to your stomach to help with digestion. If you have a finicky stomach, try a liquid snack prior to your workout. Liquid snacks such as smoothies or sports drinks tend to leave the stomach faster than solid foods do and will be easier to digest. Choosing the appropriate snacks will be dependent on the individual. Some people have a tough time digesting anything solid prior to a workout while and others can munch on an energy bar during intense activity such as running.