When you wake up before dawn to exercise, it’s easy to forget about food – especially if you have a habit of pressing the snooze key, which gives you a few more minutes to get out of bed. The other problem: For some people, the thought of eating a pre-workout in the morning – and right before going out for a sweat – seems less than appetizing.

Still, there are definitely benefits to fueling your body before running a few miles or doing a strength workout. Fortunately, nutritionists are here to help you figure out how and when to eat pre-workout in the morning so you can improve your performance (and not feel like throwing up).

Do I need to have the pre-workout meal in the morning?

“It will probably help your performance, although it depends on a few factors, including: your individual needs, the type of exercise, your ability to digest food, and if you have time to eat later,” says Mary Jane Detroyer, nutritionist and personal trainer. .

“Your body’s glucose supply is seriously depleted after a night’s sleep, so there’s little left to support a morning workout. Unless you restore your supply, you are more likely to feel slow and fatigued earlier, ”says Torey Armul, nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

First, consider how long you will exercise. Detroyer says it’s a good idea to have a snack if you train for more than 30 minutes. Armul adds that if your morning workout is intense or lasts longer than 45 minutes, it is even more important to eat something in advance.

But what about the concept of “fasting cardio”?

You may have heard of fasting aerobic exercise in the morning or afternoon without eating before. And while this may work for some people, if you are trying to push your body, this is probably not your best bet.

“Some people consider fasting the ‘fat burning zone’ because the body turns fat into fuel when glucose is not enough,” Armul explains. “However, fat is converted to energy more slowly, so you will probably feel more fatigue and less energy and intensity during training.”

So what should I eat if I need fuel?

“Choose simple carbohydrates that digest quickly and easily, and a small amount of protein and fat for a little substance,” says Armul. Try these options from both experts.

If you can only eat a small snack:

Peanut Butter Toast

Cheese Crackers

A smoothie made with fruits, milk of your choice and ½ scoop of protein powder

A piece of fruit

If you want something with more substance:

Oatmeal Porridge

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Whole grains with milk and fruits

Egg sandwich

“Remember that carbohydrates are the most important factor in fueling your workout and maintaining your energy while you are running or working out,” says Detroyer. “You use protein later for muscle repair,” she says.

Do I need to wait after eating to start my workout?

That depends on how well you digest food, says Detroyer. If you feel good about exercising right after eating, do so. But if your stomach tends to feel sensitive, it is best to wait an hour or two before training. If you don’t have that time left, try a smaller meal.

However, to ensure safety, opt for simple carbohydrates. “Most people tolerate them without unpleasant stomach cramps,” says Armul. If you eat a pre-workout in the morning with a lot of protein and fat – slower digesting nutrients – it can lead to bloating and cramps.

“Notice how your body feels during training,” says Detroyer. Ask yourself: Am I stronger? I have more energy? Do I have cramps? It may take a few tries to find out what is best for your body.

What should I eat after finishing training?

“You still need carbohydrates after your workout, but protein is the most important nutrient for muscle recovery and repair,” says Armul. Focus on about 10 grams of protein 30 minutes after training and another 10 within two hours after that.

The Detroyer suggests that you take a snack or meal after sweating so you can eat it right after your workout. The same rule of intensity and duration applies after training as your pre-workout fuel. If you only had 30 minutes of exercise at low to moderate intensity, it is less important to eat than if you had a hard 45-minute session at a time.

Need some guidance? Try these post workout foods:

Nuts such as almonds, cashews or pistachios

Cottage cheese

Greek yogurt

A boiled egg and fruits

A smoothie with a spoonful of protein

A protein bar

Cheese with a piece of fruit

And don’t forget the water!

“Hydration is as important as food,” says Detroyer. “When you get up in the morning, try to drink 500ml of water before going to the gym. And take a bottle with you. ”So: you’re ready for a successful morning sweat

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