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What To Eat Before Exercising

Eating too soon before exercising, or eating the wrong kind of food, could cause cramps, nausea, indigestion, sluggishness, and even vomiting. However, if you last ate more than 6 hours earlier, your energy will probably run out very quickly and your motivation will likely be low. The goal is to have an empty stomach, but energy in your system. High-carb snacks usually take 1/2 to 1 hour to depart your stomach. Protein can take 2–3 hours.

Here are some tips for what to eat before exercising, depending on how much time you have.

  • A snack high in carbohydrates and low in fat is easy to digest and will stabilize your blood sugar.
  • High protein foods take longer to digest, as do fatty foods.
  • Avoid sugar. A sweet snack or drink will give you energy for ten or fifteen minutes, but then you’ll crash as your blood sugar level plummets. The lightheadedness caused by this crash could be dangerous depending on your activity.
  • Make sure to hydrate well before exercising, but allow enough time for the liquid to be absorbed. Your snack could be a fruit smoothie made with yogurt and a dash of protein powder.
  • Modify what and when you eat according to what kind of workout you plan to do. A light snack 2 hours before a light workout will be sufficient to keep you going. If you intend to do an intense workout, eat a larger meal that includes protein at least 3–4 hours before exercising.
*Disclaimer: Results are typical but not guaranteed. Your actual results may vary. Real CalMWM patients shown with permission.

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