How to Balance Your Eating for a Great Workout

In our continued series on eating to fuel your workouts, today’s guest blogger gives us some good rules of thumb for planning meals around workouts and workouts around eating.

See what he has to say about when to eat and what to eat:

Eating for a Great Workout

If you work out first thing in the morning, you don’t need to eat prior to your workout. Glycogen in your muscles and liver will sustain a 60-90 minute intense workout without eating if you are a healthy individual.

If you choose to work out at other times, don’t eat closer than one hour prior to your workout.

If you eat something ‘heavy’ you need to wait even longer. For instance, if you eat a normal, large breakfast, you could then work out just prior to eating lunch – maybe three or four hours later, then eat lunch immediately after your workout to give your body the nutrients it needs to recuperate.

The real bottom line is that when, and what, you can eat will vary based on your age, metabolism, etc. The key is to know your own body, and eat so you have as little in your stomach as possible during your workout. During your workout your blood will be directed to the muscles, transporting crucial oxygen. Your digestion slows down, and the more food in your stomach, the more likely you will get that ‘ill’ feeling – and a worse workout.

If you are working out shortly after a meal, be sure the previous meal is good quality, non-processed foods. Much of what comes with no label, or not from a can should suffice as a general rule. The content of a pre-workout meal should be one with carbs that are low on the glycemic index. The size of the meal is dependent on the person’s age, health, and metabolism. Sometimes a half banana one half-hour prior to your workout is sufficient.

After an intense workout eat a meal high in protein and include low glycemic-index carbs within one hour of working out. Skipping carbs here is a mistake. The carbs act as a ‘transport’ for the protein to get to your muscle for repair. And, if you want to have higher glycemic index carbs this could be the time. Some of the sugars in the high glycemic carbs will be used to replenish energy stores in your muscles post-workout.

— Randy Ganther, The Smarter Weight Loss Guy, MaxFit Weight Loss

Great tips, Randy! We’ve probably all made the mistake of eating too much too close to our workout time and getting that “ill” feeling… and not eating enough and getting light-headed and tired. Keep Randy’s advice in mind as you make your way through the week to stay balanced.

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Author: Rachel Honoway

Rachel started based on her love for intense workouts and the results they produce. She's a wife, a mom to two elementary school aged boys and a small business owner - but here at, she gets to be a fitness enthusiast, bringing you tips, advice and routines to help keep you motivated to workout - pretty hard!

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