Dangers of Exercise on an Empty Stomach: Pre-Workout Foods

The gains that can be made from the right nutrition program is ridiculous. Choosing the right foods, how much you eat of those foods, etc... The easiest way to backtrack or not make the progress you want, is through not eating the right foods, and not eating enough of them. What you eat or take before a workout is imperative to having a good, muscle-building workout. Having a healthy nutrition regimen will help you see significant gains in muscle size and strength.

Have you ever worked out on an empty stomach? Doesn't feel good, right? You're sluggish, cranky, annoyed... (or at least I am when I don't eat). But most importantly, your body is running on nearly empty glycogen stores. And once they are depleted, your body actually uses your muscles as its next source of energy. All your hard earned gains...wasted.

Additionally, when your body is running on low energy, your strength, intensity, and form suffer. Consequently, you may not be able to push your body to maximum performance, and you are at higher risk of injury.

Now to the next section: "What should I eat?"

Pre-workout nutrition is normally broken down into two parts. A meal consisting of moderate to slow-digesting carbs about 1-2 hours before training, and a pre-workout supplement about 30-45 minutes before training.

These slow-digesting carbs include: brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread, etc... They provide a long, sustaining source of energy that will get you through tough workouts. As well as prevent your body from using muscle for energy. Below are a few pictures of what I would eat pre-workout!

Banana oatmeal bars

Oatmeal and fruit

Kodiak Cake pancake with fruit

You may also want to include a source of fast-digesting carbs a little bit before your workout; i.e. fruit. It gives you that extra energy "kick" to jump start your workouts.

About 30-45 minutes before your workout is when you should consume your pre-workout supplements (if you choose to do so). I usually take some form of pre-workout supplement that contains caffeine, or I drink just plain coffee! Caffeine has been shown to promote wakefulness, enhance blood flow, reduce fatigue, and even improve someone's mood. However, chronic use does lead to tolerance. So it is best to cycle off about every 4 weeks.

Next time you train, make sure to incorporate these pre-workout nutrition tips, and see the difference!

Your Coach, Natalie