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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Clean Eat Education :: Eating Before a Workout

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It's a question we all ponder through the course of our fitness journey - Should I eat before a workout? Should I train on an empty stomach?  The quick answer... EAT BEFORE YOU WORKOUT! There is quite the controversy regarding the answer to this question online, among fellow trainers and among fitness fanatics. If you are a morning exerciser, this really pertains to you. For those of you that workout later in the day, chances are you are well nourished prior to your workout, but just in case, please read on...


If you remember from my article on metabolism, your body has been working through the night, burning carbohydrates, fats and proteins to carry out the restorative process that is: sleep. 



Just a refresher... here's the your metabolism eating 6 meals per day vs 3 meals per day:



As you awake in the morning, your body yearns to be fed - your metabolism has dipped below the fat burning zone and into the muscle burning zone due to lack of food. This is reason enough to eat as soon as you can! When you couple this phenomenon on top of your desire to shed pounds, it becomes apparent that if you are already burning muscle for energy when your body is almost at rest (when you first wake), think about how much more muscle your body will have to burn to generate enough energy to power through a workout or cardio session. A whole LOT! Can you afford that... NO!


Keep your muscle and eat a little snack of 100-200 calories prior to exercising in the morning and your body will thank you for it! 



Stay tuned... I will be discussing great options for what to eat prior to a morning workout soon!


Update: Click here to learn what to eat before & after your workout!



Tiffany


13 comments:

  1. So if I run as soon as I wake up, would you suggest eating before and if so what would be examples of good foods?

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    1. You at least want to make sure you get some protein in prior to doing a workout. If you're lifting then you'd at least want to eat a banana to get some fast carbs and fiber.

      The aminio acids (protein) will prevent muscle from breaking down.

      Some good examples would be a quick protein shake, egg whites, lean meats (if you can heat up some chicken really quick), or dairy (cottage cheese or greek yogurt) if you're lactose tolerant.

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  2. I have to ask the same thing :-) I am going to rejoin my gym and commit to working out but to do that - I am going to get up at 4:30 AM to be at the gym by 5:00 AM. Yikes!! I know I need to eat something but that is way early so need some choices and easy ones at that. :-) Thanks!!!

    While we are chatting about this.... if I eat 100-200 calories before working out then 3 hours later (7:30-8:00 am) I would need to eat meal 2 - right? Should that be bigger - like a full breakfast??

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    1. Try a quick protein shake and a banana. You could make a smoothie pretty quickly and throw in some spinach.

      Yes, you would also want to get a post-workout meal in...that is the most crucial time to give your body the protein and carbs it needs for recovery and replenishment. I hate throwing out the protein shake again, but try that and some oatmeal. If you can somehow do egg whites or other whole food protein sources, by all means, go for it, but it sounds like you're already pretty strapped for time.

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  3. I am new here and don't know if this question has already been answered. How long after eating should you wait to work out? Is there a length of time you should wait? And is there any difference between cardio and weight training as far as what you should eat or how long to wait?

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    1. Andrea, it really depends what type of workout you are doing and how strenuous it is. I would wait about 20-30 minutes.

      Check out my follow up article... hopefully it will help!
      http://www.heandsheeatclean.com/2012/06/clean-eat-education-what-to-eat-before.html

      We are glad you found us! Welcome!

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  4. I use the guidelines that if I am working out within the hour, have a small protein shake and a banana but if you have 1-2 hours before your workout, eat a more substantial meal with complex carbs, protein and fruit. Try 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, pour some almond milk on it, warm in microwave until steamy and top with slivered almonds, fruit, coconut, cinnamon etc. mix-n-match flavors you like for a wonderful treat!

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    1. Those are some great rules! We totally agree!

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  5. Very important to mention FAST carbs! No point in eating something that will only provide you with energy AFTER your workout....

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  6. You know that eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism. But did you realize that certain a.m. choices can crank up your fat-burning even more?
    Clue is eating a breakfast that’s high in resistant starch, found in foods like bananas and oats, resistant starch actually signals your body to use fat for energy.

    Your clean eating tips really explains a deep importance of eating before workouts... with that selection of proper food is also really important...
    really enjoying reading this posts... thanks for the share...

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  7. Is it enough to have a fresh vegetable or carrot and apple juice (homemade) before a workout? I like to "juice til dinner" sometimes but still want to get my workout in...

    Thanks for anyone's advice!

    Katie

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  8. Can you provide some kind of reference for the graph above related to 6 vs 3 meals a day? Trying to read more behind the research and how they measure it. Thank you! - JW

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  9. I am up a couple times during the night nursing my 3 month old...could I have a protein shake or greek yogurt n fruit the last time feeding n then catch an hour/hour n a half of sleep before exercising?

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