The Rules of Eating

Should you eat BEFORE your workout? It depends. Here are the basic rules…

1. For workouts shorter than 1 hour, no matter what the time of day, just water.

2. For workouts first thing in the morning longer than 1.5 hours, drink just enough calories (primarily liquid carbohydrate such as sports drink or diluted fruit juice) to get you going, around 1-2 cups or about 150 calories. You’ll need to experiment with this: some people get very nauseous if they eat or drink too close to a workout, especially if running or doing high intensity work.

3. For workouts that are later in the day, that will last longer than 1.5 hours or be very intense, start the workout well hydrated by consuming 2-3 cups of sports drink or water in the hour before the workout. For longer workouts (2+ hours), having a light snack about an hour before the workout can be helpful. Well-tolerated, high carbohydrate foods are best: crackers, bananas, part of a bagel, ¼ to ½ of a sandwich (honey, jelly or a little peanut butter). However, small amounts of food taken with enough fluid are the best approach, and be sure to experiment so you’ll know what works for you.