Gym-goers over 40 years old will easily remember that in their youth, coaches insisted that their trainees eat nothing before training for at least two hours. Professional athletes followed the same regimen for many years. And those unfortunate athletes who could not show the expected results on an empty stomach had only one thing to do: completely abandon their athletic ambitions.
Today, eating breakfast before a workout is no longer a crime. Moreover, pre-training complexes appeared on the market, promising athletes to improve their results and achieve their goals in the shortest possible time. And yet for most visitors to gyms, the question, “To eat or not to eat before a workout?” remains open.
May You Eat Before a Workout?
To put an end to the debate, it’s best to refer to current scientific research. For example, Professor Brad Schoenfeld of Lehman College in New York has repeatedly observed in his practice how athletes who torture themselves on an empty stomach are able to do what they easily did yesterday after eating. And this alone casts doubt on the recommendations of the trainer to give up breakfast or dinner before going for a run or a trip to the gym.
Besides, a researcher who has devoted years to researching the process of burning fat during exercise has found that the theory supporting starvation training has a significant flaw: it does not take into account the water factor. Proponents argue that once carbohydrate intake has not occurred, the body will immediately switch to burning fat. In practice, this isn’t the case.
Whether or not an athlete ate before training, his or her body burns the same amount of fat. Our bodies are a lot smarter than we realize. Without nutrition before training, it automatically goes into survival mode. The body burns muscle mass, but stubbornly stores fat, anticipating the worst times. It’s as bad as depositing a huge sum of money as soon as you create your Woo Casino login and start gambling for the first time.
By giving up food before training, you can lose weight faster, but solely at the expense of losing muscle mass. That is why if the desired result is not the cherished number on the scales, but a harmonious and beautiful body, it’s necessary to eat before training!
Can You Eat Sweets?
Until a few years ago, the main argument against taking digestible carbohydrates before training was: the calories consumed would inevitably lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. This would result in hypoglycemic syndrome, or simply, weakness, which would lead to a decrease in performance.
In 2003, a group of scientists from Birmingham University experimentally proved that the previous statement is nothing more than a myth. Nine professional cyclists took part in the study. Each of them drank a sweet drink before training. But, contrary to expectations, moderate hypoglycemia had not the slightest effect on the athletes’ performance. Moreover, three of them had no decrease in blood sugar levels at all.
And since there is no harm to health, why not indulge in a chocolate bar before going to the gym? As it turns out, there’s nothing wrong with it! But you should eat sweets immediately before training, not an hour or two before. And only if the active training will last no longer than 40 minutes. The result is immediate: fast carbohydrates will instantly give you strength and energy, which, however, will run out in just over half an hour.
If the energy obtained from food is not spent in time, the body will save most of it as fat reserves. So do not hope that a single workout will burn off a huge piece of cake you ate before it. But calorie consumption and expenditure tables, on the contrary, will help you soberly assess your strength.
How Long Before a Workout to Eat
The standard recommendation of nutritionists is to plan a meal 1.5-2 hours before a workout. Moreover, the portion should include a sufficient amount of easily digestible proteins and complex carbohydrates, but contain a very moderate amount of fat.
Sometimes it is not possible to schedule a full meal before a workout. In this case, you should not refuse to eat completely. A portion of cottage cheese can be eaten an hour and a half before the class.
If during the workout you repeatedly notice dizziness, you can eat a small amount of simple carbohydrates, such as a banana, apple, or orange, just before the start of the load.
What to Eat Before a Workout for Energy
The main source of energy for the body are slow carbohydrates. These are oatmeal, brown rice, durum wheat pasta, and coarse flour bread. These products will allow an athlete to adequately withstand a serious aerobic load and perform well several sets of power training. Slow carbohydrates take at least 2-3 hours to digest, providing a steady supply of energy throughout the workout.
It’s important not to overeat before an intense workout! This may cause stomach cramps. Sufficient portion: 20-45 grams of carbohydrates, which is equivalent to 150-350 grams of oatmeal on water or milk.