What should you eat before endurance exercise?
If you’ve ever opened the fridge door, pondering what to eat before your workout, you’re not alone. Sports scientists, exercise physiologists, and nutritionists have debated this for decades. And while significant progress has been made in our understanding of nutrition, the body, and exercise, there is no still no one-size-fits all answer.
Pre-exercise nutrition has the ability to alter our metabolism during exercise, stimulate training adaptations, and enhance performance.
Carbs, Fat, and Fasted Training
For example, eating higher fat foods before exercise will increase fat oxidation (burning) during exercise and may help to “save” muscle glycogen, additional energy reserves for later in the session. On the other hand, carbohydrate-rich meals or drink before endurance exercise will increase body’s carbohydrate use and suppress fat oxidation.
Some athletes choose not to eat before morning exercise (i.e. fasted training). This is based on the belief that this type of training will enhance their ability to “burn” fat and reduce any gut discomfort. However, other athletes find this trade-off does not work for them, as the quality of their sessions suffer as a result.