Many of us fear the thought of having our lunch or dinner before heading down to the gym. We’ve all heard the horror stories of friends suffering from stomach cramps and throwing up on the floor during their routine sets. But does that mean we should completely skip our meals and not eat before a workout?
While there may be consequences in having a heavy meal before working out, there are still plenty of health benefits in eating the right food, at the right time. In fact, here are five reasons why it’s good to eat something before you tackle the weights!
1. Burning The Right Fuel
The major setback of not eating before exercising is that your body needs the energy from those meals to lift those heavy weights. Just like a car without fuel, you’ll find yourself struggling more as the workout progresses as your starving body tries to cope with the ever-increasing physical demand.
In fact, this might even be detrimental to your progress towards a fitter you, as once the body runs out of sugar to convert into fuel, it’ll turn into your own muscle tissue as a form of sustenance. This means that you’re actually losing muscle mass instead of gaining it, which defeats the purpose of the exercise in the first place.
2. You Are What You Eat
While it’s generally inadvisable to eat something right before a workout, you’ll get plenty of benefits if you pick the right food and give yourself time to digest before exercising.
Many fitness experts would recommend eating something that’s high in both carbohydrates and protein, such as a whey shake, yogurt, or even an energy bar, to help you be at your peak period throughout the workout. They’ve also ruled out high-sugar and fatty foods as common culprits for a bad stomach during exercise.
3. Tackling The Harder Workouts
If you’re looking to challenge yourself with workouts that you’re not familiar with, the importance of having a meal dramatically increases, as your body needs that extra energy to take on the added physical requirements. Without the right meal, you won’t reap the full fitness gains of increasing the intensity of your exercise, and would instead leave you dizzy and light-headed during the session.
Some endurance exercises, such as marathons, even require you to replenish your energy levels throughout the session as well. It’s advisable to lug around an energy drink and supplementing yourself throughout the run, to prevent your body from tiring halfway through.
4. The Risk Of Post-Overeating
After your workouts, you may experience an elevated period of hunger, where you’ll suffer from an irresistible urge to consume every food in sight. While it’s perfectly normal to find yourself peckish in such situations, it may throw off your fitness plans if you’re eating back everything you’ve lost during the exercise.
To reduce the chances of turning into a “hangry” monster at the end of your workout, fitness experts have advised that it’s often best to snack on something before exercising. Pick something light such as a banana or a glass of chocolate milk to hold off those hunger pangs.
5. Bulk Up On That Protein
Throughout your exercise, your muscle cells are in the process of rebuilding. As you train, your muscle cells breaks down and is eventually repaired overtime. Depending on the post-workout meals that you consume, this will greatly determine the duration of your muscle growth and recovery period.
Hence, to aid your body’s journey to fitness, fitness experts would recommend including protein-rich food such as chicken or lean beef in your pre-workout meals to speeden up the process. For those looking for a lighter alternative, grains like quinoa and beans are just as perfect in terms of nutritional value.
Hopefully, this article has helped you clarify the benefits of eating before a workout. One great way is to give yourself at least two to three hours after a heavy meal before exercising. Not only will you give time for your stomach to clear out, but you’ll be loaded with fresh converted energy to get pumping in the gym.
And should you need help in determining on what sort of food that’s best for your pre-workout needs, or even in your general lifestyle, we have nutritionists right here in CaregiverAsia that can help you pick the proper diet for your body!
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