I never exercise on an empty stomach. Exercising hungry might burn a little more fat per minute, but I can go for many more minutes and work at a higher intensity if I’ve eaten something. I eat before I run. I eat before I strength train. I even eat before I swim.
When choosing a pre-workout snack, I look for sugar, fiber, protein, and a little fat. The sugar gives me quick energy. The fiber slows down digestion. And the protein and fat give me slow-burning energy. The proportions are important. Too much sugar and you’ll crash halfway through. Too much fiber, protein or fat can result in digestive discomfort. (Never, ever eat tuna salad before swimming.)
My favorite pre-workout snacks:
Dried fruit and nuts. Five dates or five apricots and 1/2 ounce nuts. Approx 171 calories, 12 grams sugar, 3 grams fiber, 8 grams fat, 4 grams protein. (Actual values will depend on your choice of fruit, size of fruit pieces, and choice of nuts.)
Kashi TLC bars. Right now, I’m into the Dark Mocha Almond Chewy Granola Bars. Approx 130 calories, 6 grams sugar, 3 grams fiber, 3.5 grams fat, 6 grams protein. I keep a box of these in my swim locker.
Banana and peanut butter. I try to restrain myself to only a tablespoon of pb…but it’s so good! Approx 200 calories, 16 grams sugar, 4 grams fiber, 8 grams fat, 5 grams protein.
Apple and string cheese. This is no good if you’re lactose intolerant, but I don’t have any trouble digesting milk products quickly. Approx 152 calories, 14 grams sugar, 3 grams fiber, 6 grams fat, 6 grams protein. (Actual values will depend on the size of your apple and choice of string cheese product.)
Besides tuna salad, I also do NOT recommend working out after eating a donut or Mexican food. Surprisingly, pizza (one meat-free slice) is ok. Chocolate eggs (the Easter kind, not actual eggs + chocolate) seem like a good idea, but I crash and burn 30 minutes later (too much sugar and no fiber!)
Besides the food choice, timing is also important. I consume my snack 15 to 30 minutes before beginning my exercise session. Most of my snacks are stable at room temperature, so I can store or travel with them easily. I can often be seen nibbling on my fruit and nuts, as I cross UC's campus, on the way to swim practice.
I pair my snacks with plenty of water.
Do you eat before you exercise? What are your favorite pre-workout snacks?
Sporty Sunday is a recurring feature in which I share my fitness routine and offer and solicit advice. While this content might seem a little out of place in an outfit diary, a healthy, strong body is the foundation of my wardrobe. I hope to inspire my readers to be fit as well as stylish!