Timing of the Pre-Exercise Meal

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A common question I receive is whether one should eat prior to exercise. First of all, it goes without saying that eating a balanced diet consisting of multiple meals (about 4 – 6) throughout the day is essential to keeping your body fueled and ready for action. Although everyone is different, the digestion of a regular meal can take up to 4 hours, so you should allow plenty of time to digest a meal before engaging in physical activity. However, you may consider having a small snack about 30 to 90 minutes prior to exercise for the following reasons:

  • provides additional fuel for prolonged stamina
  • helps decrease exercise induced breakdown of muscle protein, thus, preserving lean muscle tissues
  • may prevent the distracting symptoms of hunger
  • helps avert symptoms from low blood sugar which can include dizziness, nausea, and headaches

Preferably, a pre-exercise snack should consist of 200-400 calories including mostly carbohydrates (about 60%) with some amount of fat and protein.
Choose carbohydrates that are easily digested such as pasta, fruits, breads, energy bars and drinks.

You can find examples of some pre-exercise meals at the following link:

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sportsnutrition/a/EatForExercise.htm

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One Response to Timing of the Pre-Exercise Meal

  1. Anonymous says:

    A new post…awesome. Banana and kiwi are pictured…my personal favorites.

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