I don't know about you, but I'm not great at planning my meals around my workouts.
For example, say I have a yoga class right after work. On an average day, I have lunch at 1 pm. Maybe I spend the afternoon working hard, barely thinking about food, and leave work starving at 5 pm.
That means I'll spend my yoga class crazy hungry, thinking about burgers and pizza instead of focusing on my downward dog.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, say it's someone's birthday and I eat a ginormous slice of delicious, super sweet cake at 4 pm. Then I'll end up exhausted with a stomachache, craving a nap and more sugar.
Truth be told, the reason this happens so often is because I don't exactly know how to eat for my workout. Should I eat at all before by exercise? If so, how much? And what should I eat?
So I decided to do some research, and I learned quite a bit.
Without further ado, here's what you should eat based on your workout.
If you're a swimmer...
You've heard you're not supposed to eat before you swim, right? Doing so will cause you to get a massive cramp and probably drown. Who wants that?
This doesn't mean you should hit the pool on an entirely empty stomach, though. Swimming laps for an hour while completely lightheaded isn't good for your either. So, what's the answer?
While ideally you'll still be full from the meal you ate a couple of hours ago, if you are hungry in the hour before going for a swim, try grabbing something light like a low-fat fruit yogurt. As long as it isn't too sweet, you'll get a healthy dose of fat, protein, calcium and potassium and a (very small) sugar rush.
If you want to eat before a run...
Running is a tough one because there's nothing worse than running on a full stomach and almost barfing halfway through your workout.
But in my experience, running while starving is also pretty awful.
My suggestion? Bananas.
Bananas are super easy to digest. One banana is full of carbs, natural sugar and potassium, making it the perfect pre-run snack. If you want to throw in a handful of nuts that isn't a bad idea, either.
Those healthy fats are gold.
If yoga's your thing...
Because yoga on a full stomach isn't quite as likely to destroy you as swimming or running, you have a little more wiggle room here.
I'm not saying eating a pint of ice cream before getting your Warrior 2 on is a good idea, but blending up a smoothie is an awesome alternative.
So toss some almond milk, spinach, half a banana, a spoonful of almond butter and a dash of cinnamon in a blender and drink it 45 minutes before class.
The results will be magical.
If you're on your way to pilates...
In classes where you're working your core hard, you have to be careful. Who wants a stomach full of food while trying to get abs? The two just don't go well together.
So if you want lasting energy and a happy tummy, seek out a small amount of lean protein, like a few slices of turkey. Half an avocado with a little lemon on top is a great option as well.
You'll have abs (and energy) in no time.
If walking is your thing...
Go to town. Really.
There's nothing I love more than walking off an enormous meal, so when it comes to walking, don't let your diet restrict you.