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Stop Exercising On An Empty Stomach And This Is What You Should Eat Before Exercising

Updated on February 2, 2020
Rohan Kalonia profile image

Author is a fitness enthusiast and a calisthenics athlete. He has won many regional crossfit competition and has 3 years of experience.

Pre-workout Meal.

Avoid exercising on an empty stomach. While some people get cramps if they exercise too soon, eating something very small about an hour before your workout shouldn't cause cramps. A small snack will improve your workout performance because it will provide you with the glucose needed to fuel your workouts.

If your workout is just a short stay at the gym, then you shouldn't need any food during your workout. But if you are going on a 4 hour hiking trip, be sure to pack some high carbohydrate snacks to bring your energy level back to par. Raisins, or energy bars are great suggestions. Fluid is another story, however. You need to drink 4-8 ounces every 10-15 minutes during your workout to stay hydrated.


An Essentials Tip To Prepare A Pre-workout Meal.

Remember that fat burns only in the presence of oxygen and sugar, so provide that glucose by eating half an muffin, a slice of toast with a dab of peanut butter, yogurt or a granola bar. Even if you don't eat food, at least treat your body to a small glass of juice or milk so that you are not running on empty. A light snack shouldn't bog you down, but it will provide important energy to help you exercise harder and longer than if you wouldn't have eaten.

Try eating within 15 to 30 minutes after your workout to replenish your glycogen stores so that muscle repair and fat metabolism may occur. A snack or meal mixed of carbs, protein, and a little fat is a good choice post workout.

Carbs should make up between 55-65% of your daily diet. If you exercise for more than an hour every day then you should consume the higher end of 65%. If you work out every other day, then you should stay at the low to middle end of 55-60%. What should you eat? You should focus on complex carbs and natural simple sugars, rather than refined sugars. Basically that means you should try to avoid the processed carbs, and stick to foods as close to their natural state as possible. Choose an orange over orange juice, or whole grain bread over white bread. Breads, cereal and pasta are all great choices, but try to stick with the whole grain options.


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Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide our bodies with short bursts of quick energy. When we eat a carbohydrate, it is immediately converted to glucose, and our bodies release insulin to "help" the glucose get to where it is needed (working muscles). Glucose also fuels all of our brain functions. Each cell in our body gets a little bit of glucose after we eat a carbohydrate. The glucose is then stored as glycogen. When we are in need of energy, the body will first burn glucose which burns off very quickly, however, because there is so little of it in each cell. So include ample carbohydrates in your daily diet!

Carbs are good, as long as you focus on eating more whole grain, higher fiber carbs. Fruits and veggies are great carbs! Eliminating this type of carbohydrate robs your body of much needed nutrition. Limit refined sugars in white breads and treats, however, because they provoke the body to store them as fat, even if they are fat free! The more of this type of carb you eat the more efficient your body becomes at storing them as fat.

Eating too many carbohydrates may elevate blood levels of triglycerides, blood fats that are thought to increase heart disease risk. However, if you do occasionally eat too many carbs, a recent study revealed that daily moderate exercise can thwart the increase in triglycerides that usually results.


Protein

Protein is essential in the diet, but most people consume far more than needed. Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue, tendons, and ligaments; synthesizes hormones and enzymes; and is also important for the transport of fluids. If your body does not have adequate carbohydrate stores, it will use protein as an energy source, but that is not its primary function. The body prefers to use glucose instead, reserving protein for the functions listed above.


Just like a carbohydrate, protein has 4 calories per gram. Proteins are made of 20 different amino acids, 9 of which the body cannot produce on its own. You need protein in your diet for these essential amino acids. The recommended protein intake for an adult is: 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

If you've been hesitant about trying tofu in the past, it may be time to give it a go. Eating more tofu and less meat could be good for your heart. In a recent study, two groups of people ate similar diets, but the participants in one group ate 290 grams (about a cup) of tofu per day while the participants in the other group ate 150 grams of lean meat per day. After one month, the tofu group had significantly lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Lower blood-fat levels could translate into lower heart disease risk over time.

Don't buy into the the "energy bar" hype for their special powers. Just because they have more like 30% protein instead of the average "less than 20%" doesn't mean that you couldn't get the same thing from other smart snacking.

Many people ignore nuts as a nutritious snack because of their high fat content. Indeed, approximately 75 percent of a nut's calories come from fat, but most of that fat is the heart healthy monounsaturated kind. Nuts also pack a wallop of protein: a one-ounce serving of peanuts has about as much protein as a glass of milk.

A few spoonfuls of flaxseed every day may have prostate-protective powers. In a small study of men with prostate cancer, participants who followed a low-fat diet that was supplemented with flaxseed appeared to have slower-growing tumors than men who did not follow the flaxseed diet.

The following article will be continued in the next part. I will explain the importance of taking fibre and vitamins before a workout.

Comments

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    • Mahesh Chandra Gaur profile image

      Mahesh Chandra Gaur 

      7 weeks ago

      I had the impression that one should exercise only with an empty stomach. Your article gave me a good insight on what to eat before starting workout. I do exercise occasionally, but nowadays I prefer jogging/running. Very informative article, keep sharing more on health and fitness.

    • Niks007 profile image

      Niks 

      8 weeks ago from India

      Most of us were under the wrong impression that we must exercise with an empty stomach. A very great insight about what to eat before the workouts. Keep writing eye-opening and informative articles.

    • Sumit273 profile image

      Sumit Chakrabarti 

      2 months ago from Kolkata

      Nice write-up one Rohan, and a useful one. Having the right pre- and post-workout meal is essential to have balanced nutrition that helps build muscles the right way. Most people get too carried away and do over exercise but have insufficient food intake. You have aptly pointed out the significance of preparing pre-workout meals with the right amount of protein and carbohydrate for the much-needed energy. A handy guide for fitness enthusiasts

    • PrateekJain24 profile image

      Prateek Jain 

      2 months ago from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

      Hi Rohan, well I am also a fitness freak and daily workout is a must for me because it keeps my mind calm and body healthy. Your article provides alot of information which every fitness freak must know in order to enhance their workout routine.

    • Natasha Tungare profile image

      Natasha Tungare 

      2 months ago from India

      Very informative article Rohan. Not always exercise but nutrition, lifestyle changes as well are equally important to keep yourself fit and healthy.

    • shubhra sanag profile image

      Shubhra sanag 

      2 months ago from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh

      I am convinced with your whole idea of keeping yourself fit as well as inspiring others to pick up fundamental rules in a detailed manner. So that people may adopt the right habits in order to build themself. Brother the awareness of health and fitness you are creating I appreciate your efforts. I will be waiting for the next part of this piece. God bless you.

    • Prantika Samanta profile image

      Prantika Samanta 

      2 months ago from Kolkata, India

      Diet is a crucial factor and a proper regimen should be followed to stay fit. These tips will help understand what to eat and when to eat. Thanks for these suggestions and will watch out the space for more.

    • Suchismita pradhan profile image

      Suchismita Pradhan 

      2 months ago from India

      As todays world is more health conscious these tips and tricks for exercise will definitely help.Thanks for sharing your expert advice.

    • hmkrishna profile image

      Halemane Muralikrishna 

      2 months ago from South India

      Very nice piece of information, Mr Rohan Kalonia. Your tips for exercise and the diet suggestions are awesome.

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