Even with a daily routine in place, it can be difficult to squeeze in a workout or a nutritionally balanced meal. It becomes even more difficult when you must squeeze in a run or workout when you identify an unexpected open window of time on any given day.
Here are a few helpful tips for balancing daily meals with workouts, so you can seize the opportunity to satisfy both.
How Long Should I Wait to Exercise After a Meal?
The answer is, it depends.
As a general guideline, if you have had a small meal or snack, you should wait a minimum of 30 minutes before working out. One to two hours is preferable to avoid any digestive issues.
It is recommended to wait three to four hours after a large meal before working out.
How Can I Better Time My Pre-Workout Meals?
The timing of meals before a workout is important to not just your digestive health, but your overall nutrition and how it ties into your workout.
To maximize the results of your training, try to eat a complete meal containing carbs, protein, and fat two to three hours before you exercise.
Since this is real life, we realize that is not always possible. So, remember, the sooner you eat before your workout, the smaller and simpler the meal should be.
If you eat 45–60 minutes before your workout, choose foods that are simple to digest and contain mainly carbs and some protein.
What are the Best Pre-Workout Snacks?
A light snack before exercise can provide an energy boost and keep your blood sugar level from crashing.
Depending on the time you exercise, here are a few popular snack ideas that will help get you through.
Pre-Morning Exercise Snacks (45-60 minutes before)
- Banana with a Tablespoon of Nut Butter
- Energy Bar or Low-Fat Granola Bar
- Fruit Smoothie
- Small Yogurt and Fruit
- Whole Grain Bagel
Pre-Lunchtime Exercise Snacks (one to two hours before)
Lunchtime workouts can be fueled with a hearty breakfast three to four hours before hitting the pavement or the gym.
Then, one to two hours before you go, consider:
- A Bowl of Cereal or Oatmeal
- A Handful of Nuts like Cashews, Pistachios, or Almonds
- Half of a Nut Butter Sandwich
- Small Smoothie
Pre-Late Afternoon or Evening Run (one to two hours before)
Between lunch and dinner, the afternoon or evening workout can leave you feeling fatigued without a snack beforehand.
This is especially true if you are not planning to eat until after your run or workout.
Instead of waiting, one to two hours before you go, try:
- Crackers & Cheese Stick
- Energy Bar or Low-Fat Granola Bar
- Half of a Nut Butter & Jelly Sandwich
Remember, food is fuel. Avoiding balanced meals and snacks before you work out will leave you feeling hungry and weak. Stay strong, consume smart foods, and time them perfectly, so you can achieve the benefits of both nourishment and a nice workout.
Looking for a More Balanced Approach to Fueling Your Workouts? We Can Help.
To learn more about the transformative benefits of partnering with a personal trainer in Los Angeles County, contact Train With Danny. We can help provide tips for eating properly, and working out optimally, either in person, on-demand, and during live classes that are available for all fitness levels.
You can even download our new app or to access workouts offline or sign up for our fitness plan on the app for just $1 for the first 30 days, track your progress, collect health data, and get an all-access pass to premium features to take control of your workouts on your schedule.
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