Not recommended to work out on an empty stomach

Ryan Donohue, owner of Fitness Formation.
Ryan Donohue, owner of Fitness Formation.

A question that we get a lot is based on what are the best things to eat before a training session.

What you eat in the hours before you workout will dictate your energy levels during the workout, yet many people fail to take that into consideration.

Many people often begin a workout with no appreciation of how the foods that they may, or may not, have consumed will affect their sessions.

They then wonder why they have not replicated the same intensity as their previous workout.

Firstly, it’s not recommended that people workout on an empty stomach.

We spoke previously about brain foods and the effect that they can have on us. A lack of concentration and feeling faint are a couple of the things you can expect to experience on an empty stomach when you work out.

Some people swear by fasted cardio early in the morning before they have eaten, but this tends to be a lot less intense than most workouts allowing the person to complete the workout comfortably.

If we don’t fuel up before a session our muscle glycogen levels will be depleted meaning that you will tire quicker during your workout.

Our glycogen stores can take some time to replenish, up to 24 hours in the main, so a balanced diet of all the macro nutrients is essential.

The best things to eat are foods that are generally low on the GI (Glycemic Index) scale. This will ensure that the rise in blood sugar levels will be steadier than high GI foods.

These include chicken or fish with vegetables and rice for a pre-workout meal around two to four hours before, or if you are short on time, then choose a snack that is also low on the scale such as a banana, a couple of portions of fresh fruit, or two to three rice cakes with peanut butter.

Go light on the peanut butter as most have a high fat content.

Low GI meals are shown to burn more fat during exercise, so choose wisely to avoid drops in blood sugar levels during your session and avoid wasting a workout opportunity.

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