If you’ve only done some very light jogging on an empty stomach in the early a.m., taking on a personal trainer and an intense workout before the sun comes up without any fuel isn’t just a bad idea, it’s a dumb one.
You may think you’re in great shape. After all, you’ve been dashing back and forth along Sunrise Highway Toyota shopping for the past week. So what if you sit at a desk five days a week and haven’t lifted anything heavy since that 5 lb. container of canola oil from Costco? And so what that you’re favorite time to exercise is close to the midnight hour?
You’re a champ and you can do anything! Early morning workouts are merely a yawn to you. That is until you actually wake up, lace up your gym sneakers and get to the gym. Since you were trying to get in as much sleep as possible, you completely forgot to eat breakfast. No big deal though. You’ve jogged a full 25 minutes at 5 a.m. three months ago. You’re amped and ready to go fists to meat carcass—Rocky reference anyone?
Well, that’s not always the case. ESPN’s training room recommends you eat carbohydrates up to two hours before working out. So that Vitamin water the man at the gym desk gave to you after you told him you had nothing for breakfast isn’t really going to help you that much.
The importance of eating before a workout isn’t the physical presence of food sitting in your stomach like a brick in a fishbowl, but actually the absence of food from your stomach. Confused? Digestion is the key, and it’s the digested food that provides your body with energy.
So what should you eat? A bacon, egg and cheese sandwich before working out is not a good idea. The protein and fat will hang out in your stomach weighing you down for your workout. You can still eat protein before working out, but only eat enough to satisfy your appetite. A great snack is a combination of light carbohydrates and proteins, such as crackers and peanut butter; banana with yogurt; a handful of cereal and some milk; or a small muffin and juice.
Unfortunately, if you’re working out at 5 a.m., according to ESPN’s logic that means you could start eating your snack at 3 a.m. for optimal digestion, but you should be okay with eating something at least a half an hour beforehand. You can always set your alarm for earlier, grab a snack and fall back asleep until it’s time to wake up for your workout.
These tips will keep you from stopping your workout or from caressing the cold floor of the bathroom to cure your cold sweat.
Find a workout buddy or a gym near you by using online classifieds.