performance

WTF Do I Eat Before the Gym?

In my first edition of 'WTFriday' I'm addressing a common issue I see all too often of people coming into the gym and struggling to get through their workout because they haven’t eaten enough that day, or ate too long ago, or too soon before, etc. When it comes to nutrition there is always conflicting information everywhere and it can be hard to sort through.  So you may be left wondering “What the fuuuuuck do I eat before I go to the gym??”

If there is only one thing you take away from reading this please let it be this: EAT BEFORE YOU WORKOUT.  Eat anything at all (with enough time to digest it prior to working out); just don’t come to the gym at the end of the day light- headed because you only consumed 200 calories that day.  If you want to know more specifically what and when to eat for optimal performance read on…

If you aren’t a body builder trying to put on serious mass, or a figure competitor getting ready to hop on stage as lean as possible, please don’t stress too much.  I'm keeping this simple, because there's just no need to overcomplicate it. You want to eat something that’s going to fuel your workout, in other words give you energy and boost your performance, but not leave you feeling overly full and sick.  Depending on what time of the day you work out and how soon you eat prior to your workout your pre-workout meal will look different.

2 or more hours prior to working out

If you’ve got 2-3 hours or more to digest you’ll want to fuel yourself with a well-balanced meal, meaning a mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates.  This may look like a salad filled with extra veggies, protein (such as chicken, hard-boiled eggs or fish) and a healthy fat such as olive oil or avocado.  Or if your meal before working out is breakfast it may be a tortilla or brown-rice wrap filled with eggs, avocado and spinach. 

1-2 hours prior to working out

If you’ve only got 1-2 hours before your workout you’ll want to focus on protein and carbs and minimal fats in your meal or snack.  Fats take longer to digest.  When your working out the blood is flowing to your muscles (which means it’s no longer flowing to your stomach to help aid digestion) so you want to eat something that’s going to digest faster.  Your snack may look like a hard-boiled egg, a banana and a tablespoon of nut butter.  Or it may be some left over protein from another meal, like grilled chicken along with some veggies lightly drizzled with olive oil or salad dressing.

1-hour (or less) prior to working out

If you’re working out within the hour, your snack (notice I didn’t say meal – keep this on the smaller side so you aren’t overly full) should be a small portion of protein and carbs.  This again could look like a hard-boiled egg & piece of fruit. Or a serving of greek yogurt with some berries.  Some beef jerky and a rice cake or two would work as well. 

If you aren’t sure how much fat, protein or carbs are in a certain food try using an app to track your food for a little while until you have a better idea.  Or just google that shit.  And again, don’t stress too much.  The important thing is that you’re able to get to the gym and complete your workout without throwing up or passing out. 

If you've still got nutrition questions after reading this feel free to contact me directly at veronica@veronicamcnelis.com