Whether or not to eat before a workout and what to eat is a question for many, and a valid one.
You want something to help you fuel your workout, but you don’t want something that is going to slow your workout down. Figuring out that perfect thing to munch on before getting your body moving is a hot topic, and we are here today to help you find the right thing to eat before heading to Pilates class or another kind of workout.
The Basics of Energy
In order to exercise, your body needs energy. The harder the workout, the more energy you need – that’s no secret.
However, what you may not know is that there are a couple different kinds of energy that the body uses during exercise:
- Free ATP. This exists in our muscles and is the first kind of energy that is available to our cells. APT energy lasts for just a few seconds.
- Phosphocreatine System. This energy comes next on the list and lasts for about 15 seconds.
- Anaerobic Glycolysis. This energy hits after that initial first 20-ish seconds and lasts for around 2 minutes.
- Aerobic Glycolysis. Your body reaches this type of energy after you exercise for more than 2 minutes. This stage has the ability to give you energy for hours.
In order to get these sources of energy, your body needs fuel. And that fuel comes in the form of carbs and fats.
How many carbs should I eat before exercise?
Now that you know you need carbs and fats to fuel your workout, the question arises of how many.
The more intense of a workout you’re doing, the more carbs you need.
For a low-intensity workout like Pilates, you’ll need just a few carbs. However, if you’re doing something like HIIT or running, you want to have anywhere between 30-60 carbs, depending upon your size and the duration of your workout.
What type of carbs should I eat before working out?
The more simple the carb you eat, the better.
So, before your workout you want to stick to things such as:
- White rice
- Healthy cereal or cereal bars
How long before working out should I eat?
If you’re sticking to simple carbs, you can eat them pretty close to your workout (think 30 minutes to an hour before). However, if you opt for complex cars such as whole grains or legumes, you want to wait 2-4 hours until you work out.
When it comes to fats, they take the longest for your body to metabolize so if you’re looking to fuel your workout with fats instead of carbs, then it’s best you consume those fats 2-4 hours before your workout.
Is it bad to exercise on an empty stomach?
This isn’t a clear “yes” or “no” answer. First, your body stores extra energy that helps us move even without the aid of food. But, the amount of stored energy you have depends upon what your least meal was and how much energy it gave you.
If you opt to workout on an empty stomach, be sure to eat right after your fasted workout to keep your muscles strong and healthy.
What should I eat before my workout?
Okay now that you have the scoop on energy, carbs, and fats, it’s time to give you a few things that are best to eat before your Pilates class.
If you’re eating 3-4 hours before your workout…
- Ground turkey
- Sweet potato
- Black beans
- Wild rice
- Green beans
If you’re eating 2-3 hours before your workout…
- Sandwich with protein
If you’re eating 30 minutes-1 hour before your workout…
- Bagel with protein