“Timing is everything”
This is a phrase you hear for various reasons, but it is most prevalent for lifting. The specific time you go to the gym can have an effect on your “gains” or weight lost. Usually, I prefer to go to the gym as soon as I wake up, even before breakfast. This is due to the fact that your body responds better to working out before it has a lot of food in its system. Exercising without a heavy breakfast will not necessarily make you lose weight faster, even though that is a common belief. However, it does come with the benefit to prevent you from feeling sluggish.
I should clarify what I mean by a “heavy breakfast”. This type of breakfast is packed with multiple items heavy with carbohydrates or fats. Although carbs are crucial to nutrition, when you overload your body with them before a workout, there is more carbs than your body can burn. During exercise carbs are burned off first, then it begins to burn the actual body fat. So, if you eat a heavy breakfast your body will be so overwhelmed by the amount of carbs and fats that you had, that it will become “sluggish” since it has so much to burn through. Often if your workout duration and intensity are not high enough where it is able to burn through the excess carbs, that workout would only serve as burning off what you ate that morning instead of working on the fat underneath.
Instead, a pre-workout snack could be used to fuel your body. It is important that you grab a snack packed with natural sugars and carbohydrates which is what gives the human body energy. These two attributes of nutrition is also what your body burns as well as fat so once they are depleted, your body does not have the same energy. They are necessary to help you continue the same intensity in your workout throughout the entire time. Not including their benefit on your blood-sugar levels.
If you exercise without any breakfast, at a high intensity or even for a long time, you increase the risk of having low blood sugar. The lack of fuel in your system diminishes your strength, stamina, and speed. Along with that, it can cause dizziness or nausea since your blood sugar is low and you are forcing your blood flow to spike as your heart rate increases during your routine. This is why the natural sugar content of your snack is critical.
-a slice of toast with peanut/almond butter
Any of these are sufficient for you to complete your rigorous workout regimen, and there’s plenty more snack ideas out there. Be creative! Experiment and find out what works for you. Even with these snacks, timing is still relevant. A pre-workout snack should be eaten at least 45 minutes before exercise because it can lead to cramping or nausea. It needs time to digest and become the fuel that your body requires.
So, next time you exercise don’t forget to grab a treat or you’ll feel beat!