Fitness Spotlight: Should You Snack Before or After your Workout?
It’s a debate that has been going on for years – do you eat before you hit the gym or just wait until after to fuel up? Both choices have their strong points and downfalls. If you eat too much before you get on the treadmill, you’ll be queasy and uncomfortable. If you don’t eat at all, you risk muscle cramps, weakness and even dizzy spells. So what’s the best option?
If you do choose to fuel up pre-workout, it should be with a protein shake, an energy bar, a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit. Remember: pre-workout snacks definitely should not make you feel stuffed. Without food to fuel your workout, muscle tissue is instead converted into glucose to provide the energy you need, making your workout less effective. It’s important to know that your body uses glucose (sugar) for immediate yet longer-lasting energy.
The type of workout, as well as the duration and intensity, will determine your energy needs. The closer you eat to your workout, the smaller the portion should be. You don’t want your body to be expending any extra energy on digestion when you need it to perform. Any type of high-intensity cardio such as running, jogging, spinning or boxing would require a good snack to sustain you. If you’re opting for a lower-intensity activity, a 200-calorie snack won’t be necessary.
For workouts that last an hour or less, smaller snacks like Greek yogurt or low-fat chocolate milk are good options. And, if you do happen to find yourself heading out the door as your stomach starts to rumble, you can’t go wrong with a small piece of fruit, like an easy-to-digest banana.
Do you prefer to fuel up before or wait until after your workout? Let us know in the comments!