Here’s what Top Performers Actually Eat Before a Workout

Those who train know the importance of eating the right foods for the ultimate workout performance. Whether you’re hoping to run a faster mile or reach for a heavier weight, clean eating is almost always top of mind. That’s why a recipe for success includes following a diet low on the glycemic index (GI). You’ll experience sustained energy for your workout rather than spiking your blood sugar, which could leave you feeling tired and groggy. This is particularly important for those who hit the gym or running trail after a long day at the office. Eating a low glycemic diet all day long can help give you the energetic punch you need so you’re ready to give it your all – even after 6pm.

Consider your carbs
Reaching for a pre-workout snack is important, but unfortunately not all carbs are created equal. The “bad” ones rate high on the glycemic index and are typically low in fiber, high in sugar, and heavily processed like cookies, cakes, donuts, candy bars and other similar foods. This “junk” is quickly digested, often sending your blood sugar skyrocketing. While most of us don’t make a habit of snacking on donuts and candy bars, sometimes it’s unavoidable, particularly when that 3pm hunger strikes and the office vending machine is just steps away.  But before you nosh on that not-so-good-for-you-snack, keep the following in mind, because a sugary treat could really throw a wrench in your afternoon workout – or even a workout the following day.

Eat 90 minutes before
To feel your best and deliver optimal performance, you’ll want to fuel up 90 minutes before your workout. This is a good formula to follow regardless of the time of day you work out. Try reaching for whole food sources like whole grains, non-starchy veggies and fruits. Pairing these with lean protein and healthy fats is always a good idea. Of course, a low glycemic SoLo energy bar is the perfect snack and it fits right into your gym bag without any fuss.

No time? Go for 30
If you only have 30 minutes to fuel up, don’t sweat it. You should still grab a snack so your stomach isn’t completely empty. Opt for half a bar to start and then eat the rest of the SoLo bar during or immediately following your workout. Anyone who has ever gone for a run on a full stomach knows that it completely stinks, but an empty stomach is almost just as bad because it can leave you feeling sick and lightheaded. Of course, don’t forget to stay hydrated, too! Water is your best bet as sports drinks can spike your blood sugar too quickly and put a lot of unwanted stuff sloshing around in your stomach.

Once you completely dominate your workout and are feeling like a sweaty beast (that’s a good thing!), don’t forget to fuel up again to help your body restocks its glycogen stores so you can build up muscle, and prepare your body for the rest of the day.  Your best bet is to schedule your next meal within two hours of finishing up your workout.

It is not complicated to follow a low glycemic diet. After all, counting calories or even counting carbs is not part of it. Instead, it’s about paying close attention to the GI values in the meals and foods you choose.

References: https://www.gisymbol.com/gi-heart-disease/
https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-8-15

 

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