So your summer body didn’t quite come through this year, but you are now motivated to get with the program! You’ve managed to cut out a lot of calories today, as you’ve hardly eaten anything. You’ve signed up for a Cardio Kickboxing class to help you lose the weight you’ve been wanting to all year. Yes, you’ve finally made up your mind to do this, you tell yourself, excitedly. You enter the group fitness class with determination. You get through the warm-up and even managed to break a sweat. You sip on some water and continue following the next exercises. With every combo, you feel your heart pounding harder and your breathing becoming heavier. You begin to wonder how many more kicks does this instructor really expect you to do, and suddenly, you’ve hit the wall!
I’ve had quite a few cases among the years of teaching, where students experience this kind of shut-down, and they’ve all shared one thing in common – they didn’t eat before coming to workout! When your body runs out of glucose during exercise, you not only feel tired, your body simply cannot continue because it is unable to produce anymore energy. You’ve passed the point of fatigue and may feel light-headed, dizzy, naseous, or even see stars!
While fasting plays a large role in fitness today, I am not going to cover the topic in this post for sake of simplicity. Instead, I’d recommend for beginners to either eat a snack an hour before working out, or have a full meal two hours before. Eating less calories in a day may help with weight loss, however, eating more calories when you are most active may help to complete the task at hand. Whether you’re working out, cleaning, or chasing your kids, you need to eat to fuel your body. That doesn’t mean you should gobble down two jelly donuts before hitting the gym because you know you’ll be burning a lot of calories. Choose foods that provide an adequate amount of calories and that are rich in nutrients. Some examples of nutrient-rich foods are salmon, potatoes, nuts, yogurt, and avocados.
Before eating, always consider what you’ll be doing for the next few hours. If you were driving to the corner store on less than a quarter tank of gas, you’d be fine, but you wouldn’t go on a road trip without a full tank of gas, would you? Be sure to fuel your body for the activity ahead, and hit the (hunger) spot, not the wall!
What do you like to eat before a workout? (Comment below).