Foods to eat before exercising.
December 20, 2003 3:01 PM   Subscribe

What kinds of things are smart to eat before exercise? (more)

I get to the healthplex pretty early-7 in the morning at least two days a week, 8:30 most of the rest of the time. I need to eat something as I usually take a class or two then do cardio, but eating enough to carry me thru but not enough to make me feel sick is a problem. I do usually stop and have a piece of fruit after the first class.
posted by konolia to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I find two granola bars (Nature Valley brand in my case) and a glass or so of (water|gatorade|etc.) work well to give me the energy I need when I run, both for myself and cross-country meets, but aren't heavy enough to make me puke during running. Sucking on hard candies, such as Jolly Ranchers, also works well to give a boost of energy; make sure to eat something after you're done exercising though, or that energy "high" will drop off and leave you quite tired. If you don't mind eating a food that has the texture of cardboard, try puffed wheat (dry, not in milk, water, or anything), seriously. Hope that helps.
posted by thebabelfish at 3:14 PM on December 20, 2003

Nothing like sugar, and a meal afterword. Or a meal an hour before. This makes a big difference to me. Tangentially, I don't understand people who exercise in the early morning, since it seems too inconvenient to organize eating times to fit with that energy expenditure schedule.
posted by rschram at 3:22 PM on December 20, 2003

I'm an early exerciser -- 5:30 a.m. I usually just have a little bit of tea, for the sugar and caffeine hit, and then eat breakfast afterwards (usually a bagel or something of that ilk). If I eat anything before it feels like concrete while I'm exercising.
posted by JanetLand at 4:18 PM on December 20, 2003

You're already eating the perfect thing - fruit. If you need more food, eat more fruit. Citrus fruits are especially good for pre and post exercise.
posted by iconomy at 4:36 PM on December 20, 2003


Tastes about as good as it sounds.
posted by bonehead at 7:20 PM on December 20, 2003

I think that most exercise/nutrition science, contrary to what most people are posting, advises that you consume low-glycemic carbs prior to working out. Sugars and simple starches break down quickly-- though this raises your blood sugar, an insulin spike closely follows, greatly cutting your stamina and your body's ability to burn fat.

This page has a few good exercise nutrition links.
posted by trharlan at 8:46 PM on December 20, 2003

Pre workout: 2 bananas. Post workout: tuna salad & chocolate milkshake. Some amino acid supplements & electrolyte drinks wont go amiss wither. Avoid sugar.
posted by the cuban at 3:49 AM on December 21, 2003

your body's ability to burn fat
the body gets very little energy from fat during excercise and this energy source is only important for extreme exertion, like a marathon. Otherwise 99% of energy comes from carbohydrates. Pasta is best for energy pre exercise, but a ready made sports drink is also very helpful before and after, if you are for instance running 10k's.

Pre workout: 2 bananas.
if you are doing heavy excercise, like running then bananas are bad to eat before as they take a long time to digest - ideally you want to eat 2 hours before, otherwise eat something that will be digested quickly. like pasta or bread.
posted by carfilhiot at 7:55 AM on December 21, 2003

I am at the gym at 6AM every morning. We are bakers and keep the bread machien fired up every night, so usually I just pull a hunk of bread off a fresh loaf and go. It sticks to the inside and lets me get through a pretty intense workout without falling out.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 8:56 AM on December 21, 2003

Thanks everyone, for the imput.

Right now the breakfast of choice has been peanut butter on a slice of bread, with Southern iced tea. Everything else including Basic 4 cereal or an egg sandwich (I will never try THAT again) hasn't really done the trick. I see I need to ditch my between-workout banana.

Another question: does what I eat the night before have any bearing?

(oh, the reason for my early workout time is that's when my workout classes start.)
posted by konolia at 12:49 PM on December 21, 2003

it depends on what type of exercise you plan on doing:

30 minute cardio - eat nothing, you'll be using muscle glycogen as the primary fuel which already gets stored in your body. This fuel accumulates slowly.. takes about 3 days to return to normal.. so nothing you eat right before a workout will matter.

3 hour cardio - Complex carbohydrates, like people mentioned.. bread, pasta. 1 hour before. Drinking fluids with electrolytes before and during the workout is very important.

Weight training - you won't get the nausea so you don't have to limit your pre-workout meal like a runner would. I would eat a protein bar and complex carbs for energy. weight trainers are usually very calorie-conscious though, (especially the ones who have hit a "plateau") so they wouldn't eat a lot in general.
posted by alex3005 at 11:01 PM on December 21, 2003

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