Some of us remember being told that we couldn’t go swimming because we just had something to eat. It’s not an old wives tale. The fact is that after you have a full meal, you should wait at least two hours before partaking in any form of rigorous exercise. Not only does it give your body time to digest the food (which reduces the risk of cramps and other workout complications), but digestion also provides your body with the nutrients that it needs for your workout to go well. So how do figure out what you need to eat (and when) as it relates to your workout regimen? Here are three rules to keep in mind.
Have a Good Breakfast
It’s something that we’ve all heard and it’s something that will always ring true. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It’s a great way to replenish your body from the previous night’s sleep. It raises your blood sugar levels after going anywhere from 5-8 hours without a meal. And it prevents you from experiencing the feelings of nausea or light-headedness that can oftentimes happen as a direct result of going without food before exercising. If you’re going to have a hearty meal, it’s recommended that you wait at least two hours before you start working out. If you’re a bit more pressed for time, opt for having a lighter breakfast (a small bowl of cereal and a piece of fruit) and exercise about an hour after that.
Watch Your Size Portions
The general rules are as follows: If it’s a large meal, you should wait a minimum of three hours before exercising. If it’s a smaller meal, 2-3 hours will suffice. If you’ve been snacking, you should give yourself about an hour before you begin your workout regimen. Therefore, if you’ve had a big dinner, unless you’re a night owl, it’s probably best to work out in the morning. If you’ve had a big breakfast, consider working out as soon as you get home from work. You certainly have to figure out what works best for you and your schedule. Just make sure that you’re not just focused on when you eat, but what you eat too. For instance, your snack list should NOT include French fries and cookies. Your body will be a lot more satisfied with an energy bar, a homemade smoothie or a whole grain bagel.
Make Sure to Replenish Yourself
One thing that most health practitioners and personal trainers will tell you is that food helps to replenish the body of the vitamins and minerals that it lost while exercising. This is why it’s a good idea to eat meals that are high in both protein and carbohydrates within 45 minutes of your workout. Something else that you will need is plenty of fluids to keep you from becoming dehydrated. It’s customary to drink somewhere around 2-3 cups of water at least two hours before you start to exercise and once you finish. It’s also a good idea to take in some fluid during your workout routine as well. Remember to drink about a cup every 15-20 minutes. All of these time frames can be hard to keep up with, so make sure to either wear a stopwatch, to have your phone nearby or to go to OnlineClock.net. You can set an alarm reminder on that site from the convenience of your desktop or laptop.