Dr. Ann Kulze talks about why it's important to refrain from eating immediately before exercise and how to optimize your workout. 000a000a
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If you’re working out like many people for weight loss or weight maintenance in addition to health benefits, then actually the best thing to eat is nothing, meaning—and that’s why I’m a big advocate of exercising first thing in the morning again if your primary goal is weight loss or weight maintenance because your blood glucose levels and your glucose stores in your body are in an all time low after that overnight fast. And if you exercise first thing in the morning without having anything to eat, you’re going to be much more apt to tap into your fat stores, meaning you’re going to blow through your glucose stores pretty quickly and then transition into burning through your fat, which is what you want to do. Now if exercise in the morning is not an option for you and again, that you’re exercising for weight loss or weight maintenance along with the other health benefits, then the next best thing to do is to make sure you don’t eat anything. I mean relatively fasting, so try not to eat anything for three hours before you exercise. So if you can exercise at lunch, maybe you have your breakfast but wait three hours, exercise, and then go have your lunch afterwards. Now if you’re working out for training, meaning you’re a competitive athlete, whether you’re a gymnast or a basketball player, a competitive runner, then your workout has a whole different purpose. You’re working out to improve your athletic performance. And in that situation, it is very important to take in the right nourishment prior to your workout. And if you’re going to have a meal, it needs to be no later than two hours before and the best meal to have would be foods that are—the meal should be high in carbs and the right kind of carbs, which I will talk about in a second, low in fat and it can have a bit of protein in it, too. And again, carbs are what give your muscles their energy because they are the foods that give you glucose. Glucose is the preferred fuel, is the clean burning fuel for your muscles. And the best carbs are what we call slow carbs. I call them the real food carbs like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans. And there are lots of examples of things you could do. Let’s say you’re going to have breakfast before your training. Great things to have is have some whole grain cereal with some milk, maybe a little fruit. Have a granola bar spread with a little peanut butter. You can have a little fruit with it. You can do your own homemade smoothie, put some bananas in there, low fat yogurt, maybe a little protein powder. If it’s going to be lunch, the meal prior to your workout for—again, you’re a competitive athlete, great examples would be, how about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, whole grain bread, peanut butter, some spreadable fruit. You could do a healthy sandwich made from lean meat, get some turkey, put some lettuce and tomato on there, again whole grain breads. You can have a salad, make sure you top it with some protein. Again, the name of the game is you want fair amount of carbs. You want what we call the slow burning carbs. Carbs that are digested slowly, rises long steady blood glucose levels, and a little bit of protein and not much fat. And I think it’s best to tell people what to definitely avoid, what are foods that will sabotage your workout and actually diminish your training capacity. Foods high in saturated fat, these are your four-legged fats. That would be things like fatty cuts of beef like hamburgers, hotdogs, bacon, sausage, things with lots of full fat cheese. Foods that have trans-fats, and both trans-fats and saturated fats are particularly bad because they impact blood flow. And to be able to train, you need as much blood pumping into those muscles as possible. And saturated fats and trans-fats dramatically diminish a healthy blood flow and again, trans-fats are found in really junkie foods like baked goods and chips and fast-food French Fries. The other category food you want to avoid prior to a workout would b
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