What to Eat Before Your BoxFit Workouts

What should I eat before I workout? It’s a question we get asked a lot here at BoxFit.

Figuring out what to eat before your workout can be such a struggle. When it comes to a pre-workout snack, what you choose to eat is important. If you're wanting to get the most out of your BoxFit session, you want to fuel your body first with proper nutrition.

And no, I'm not talking about pre-workout supplements. I'm talking about real, delicious meals and snacks. The kind of foods you would enjoy anyway—and will enjoy even more when you know they're helping you reach your fitness goals.

Before I outline the best meals and snacks to eat pre-workout, let me explain the importance of being nourished before your workouts.

Not eating enough before a workout can make you dizzy, lightheaded, nauseated, or lethargic. It can also make you more likely to injure yourself.

And even if none of these things happen, skipping food can negatively impact your performance and reduce your fitness gains. But I know that realistically you won't always have the time (or desire) to eat before a workout.

On nights when you're scrambling to get from the office to your favourite BoxFit class it might feel impossible to squeeze in a snack on the way. And what do you do if you're a morning workout person who doesn't like to eat breakfast? The truth is that for most people it's OK to work out on an empty stomach (though I would not recommend doing so if you have blood sugar issues).

So if you can't even grab a homemade protein bar or the idea of forcing down a bite makes you want to gag, that's all right. But ideally you should fuel up before you work up a sweat—and definitely, definitely drink water  before, during, and after.

Here's how and what to eat before your workouts.

 1.Time your pre-workout snack right.

The ideal time to eat is between 30 minutes to three hours before your workout. That way you're not still digesting when you start the session but you haven't gone and used up all those helpful calories yet. Having said that, this can be customized. 

You may have to experiment to see which time frame does your body good. If you're working out first thing in the morning you probably won't be able to eat a whole meal before you hit the studio. A small snack or mini-breakfast should suffice.

If you are exercising later in the day, I recommend having a snack 30 minutes to an hour before your workout or working out two to three hours after a well-balanced meal.

See list of examples at the bottom of this article

2. Drink plenty of water.

It's best to get your body hydrated before you even think about heading to the gym. One way to determine your overall hydration status is to check out the color of your urine first thing in the morning. 

Lemonade-coloured urine is a sign of appropriate hydration, while dark-coloured urine (think apple juice) indicates you are dehydrated. While there’s no one-size-fits-all method to determining fluid needs during exercise, a good place to start is drinking about two cups of water around two to three hours before exercise and one cup of water about 10 to 20 minutes before working out.

The goal here is to minimize dehydration. Dehydration can cause low energy and muscle cramps. You should also try to stay hydrated throughout your workout. Consider drinking one cup of water for every 15 to 30 minutes of intense physical activity, especially if you are sweating profusely or are training in a heated environment.

Again, this may take a bit of experimentation until you find what works best for your body.

3. Go for a pre-workout snack with carbs.

Carbs = energy. 

Carbs break down into glucose, enter our muscle cells, and give us fuel to exercise at our maximum capacity. Eating carbs before you exercise ensures that you'll have extra glucose on hand for your workout. Some carbs we recommend eating before a workout for quick energy include a granola bar, a piece of fruit, oatmeal, a rice cake, or a piece of toast.

4. Make sure your pre-workout snack contains some protein.

In addition to carbs it's a good idea to consume a little bit of protein before your workout—especially if you are doing a BoxFit session. When we perform resistance training exercises such as push ups, we create small tears in our muscle fibres. When you rest, your body repairs those micro-tears, building up your muscles bigger and stronger than they were before—and it needs protein to do it.

Go for sources of protein that are easy to digest like nuts, Greek yogurt, chickpeas, lentils, a hard-boiled egg, or a glass of plant milk or soy milk. And be sure not to eat too much so you don't get an upset stomach halfway through your workout.

Here are a few pre-workout snacks I recommend:

* Snack: A smoothie with one cup of fruit and two cups of vegetables, or this protein-packed green smoothie recipe (drink half before your workout and half after)

* Snack: An apple or pear with nut butter

* Snack: Greek yogurt with granola and berries

* Snack: Dried fruit with mixed nuts

* Snack: A granola bar

* Snack: Rice cakes topped with nut butter

* Snack: Oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit

* Snack: Baked fish, brown rice, and roasted veggies

Remember: These pre-workout snack ideas are only guidelines.

The beauty of food and nutrition is that everyone's body is different and will have specific needs and preferences. 

Enjoy your workout!

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