Should you eat a snack or a whole meal before a workout?

Did you know that professional athletes plan when and what are their going to eat? Their diet is predetermined by their nutritionists and they know when exactly they need to eat. This is done in order to ensure that they get their bodies the maximum amount of nutrients it needs and to get the most out of their workouts. But, what about us? Do we also have to be careful about what we eat and when we eat?

In most cases, we do not. We do not require of our bodies to develop super strong muscles or to run long distances, however, this does not mean that you shouldn’t neglect your diet. The truth is that the most people get the results they want by simply eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Experts say that the meal or snack before the exercise is very important and that the two different sizes of what you eat determine when and what you should eat. For example, if you like to snack before a workout, then it would be best that it has between 100 to 200 calories and that you eat it around 30 minutes before workout. You should choose a snack that has carbohydrates that can be digested fast, so that the snack would be digested before the workout and that the necessary fuel is available to your body. Best snacks to have before exercises are: energy bars (low fat, lots of protein versions), fruit juices, sports drinks, fruit smoothies and fruit (like banana, watermelon or pineapple). These foods are ideal for pre-workout snack, but be sure to limit to 100-200 calories!

On the other hand, if you like to eat a whole meal before a workout, then things get a little more complex. First of all, the timing for this meal is different than for snack – a complete meal you need to eat at least one hour up to two hours before the workout. Keep in mind that the bigger the meal (the more fat and protein has), you will have to wait longer before you workout. To get the best balance between meal and exercise, it would be best if the meal has calories double of the amount of calories you will burn during exercise. Let’s say that you are going to burn 300 calories – then your meal should have around 600 calories. The math is quite simple. Experts say that from 50 to 60 percent of all these calories should come from carbohydrates, because nutrients from this food will be able to help your body keep the energy and sugar amounts on stable level during your workout. If you are looking for ideas for this meal, here are some great food choices for multiple combinations: hard boiled eggs, nuts, fruit and yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit, tomato, vegetable juice, yogurt smoothie, protein or energy bars, hummus and raw veggies, whole grain crackers and milk. These foods are ideal to combine into a great pre-workout meal – they have lots of nutrients needed for your body.

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