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What Foods To Eat Before Exercise

What Foods To Eat Before Exercise

Regular physical activity is extremely important for good health. However, sometimes eating and exercise appear to be a bit incompatible. By eating the wrong foods or eating food too close to exercising, you may end up with indigestion, a stomach cramp or find you can’t perform at your best.

Some pre-exercise food guidelines

Guidelines for what foods to eat before exercise from the Australian Sports Commission include:

  • Avoid excessive amounts of fat, protein, fiber or large quantities of food, as these could slow down the digestive process.
  • Include carbohydrate foods as these provide the body with glucose.
  • Make sure the food provides adequate vitamins, minerals and protein.
  • Wait for the food to be digested and absorbed.
  • As a general rule eat 3 to 4 hours before exercising.
  • A light snack 1 to 2 hours before may also be acceptable.
  • Everyone is different – so experiment to see what works for you.

Food taken 3 to 4 hours before exercising could include cereals, baked beans on toast, baked potatoes, a cheese sandwich or roll, rice or pasta dishes.

Snacks 1 to 2 hours before might include a milk-based drink, yogurt, fruit, liquid-meal supplement or a sports bar.

Just prior to exercising a sports drink, cordial or jelly beans should be fine.

Exercising for weight loss

Some people believe that if they avoid carbohydrates before exercising they will burn more fat. While this may be the case the Sports Commission also asserts that taking in some carbohydrate may enable you to exercise for a longer period, which may result in better performance and possibly greater fat burning and weight loss.

Help and information

More information on exercise and eating can be found at the Australian Sports Commission If you have not exercised in a long time, you are very unfit or you have health conditions, see your doctor before embarking on an exercise program.

Note that while Medicare covers you for many standard health services and hospital care, private health insurance may help cover the gaps and provide you with more treatment options. A good health plan might allow you to take advantage of subsidised visits to other practitioners such as dietitians and physiotherapists.