Eating Before Exercise

Ask the Expert

Q:

I want to start exercising in the morning before I go to work. Do I have to eat before I work out? If so, what are some foods that won't make me feel too full? How long should I wait between eating and starting aerobic exercise?


A:

You need fuel to get the most out of your workout, and food provides that fuel. When you wake up in the morning, it's been a long time since dinner, and your energy levels are depleted. So eat a little before your workout. What, when and how much you eat really depends on the intensity and duration of your workout.

If you don't like to have breakfast first thing in the morning, eat a small snack that's high in carbohydrates and easily digestible or drink a sports drink, preferably 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. Afterward, you can then eat your normal breakfast. A good "after-workout" meal would contain both protein and carbohydrates, such as a whole-wheat English muffin spread with peanut butter.

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