What is your approach to eating before class? I am often asked what to eat, and when to eat, before exercising. People regularly tell me they have no energy to get to the end of their workouts.
As busy people, it is often difficult to get in a good breakfast before coming to a 9.15 am class. We are all rushing around getting kids to school, making school lunches, doing house work, or – if we’re really lucky – sleeping in. Having breakfast early enough, so we don’t feel bloated and full for our workouts, is often overlooked.
I know that to get the most out of our time at the gym and to have enough energy to work to our full potential, it is important to have a good breakfast. Before starting a class you should feel like your tummy is empty, but that you have enough fuel to get you through the workout.
What you eat and when you eat it will determine how hard you can work during your class. The harder you can work, the better the results will be.
Generally, the meal you have before a workout should be a mix of carbohydrate for energy, and protein for repair. Having your meal 1-2 hours before your workout is important.
To have energy we need glycogen in our muscles and liver which, as we work, is released into the bloodstream as energy. The amount of carbohydrate we consume influences how much glycogen is stored. Therefore, your pre-workout meal should contain carbohydrates. Good carbohydrates include vegetables, fruit, oats, wholegrain breads and wholegrain cereals. It is also important to have foods which are low-GI, and are full of protein. Foods such as a piece of fruit, like an orange or banana, a tub of yoghurt, some eggs or a small protein drink are good.
Like most people, I’m really busy and have about 15 minutes in the morning to make and consume my breakfast. I usually have a bowl of good quality muesli with yoghurt and maybe some fruit. I eat at 7 am.
In addition to foods, you need to be well hydrated because it helps the flow of energy to the muscles. Drinking a lot of water post-workout is also important for re-hydration.
The consumption of protein and potassium after a work out is important for repair and energy – so bananas are excellent!
If you are worried about your performance as a result of your food intake, talk to one of our personal trainers today. Eating the right foods can really enhance your time at the gym – and in life in general.