Fuel Up Before You Work Out!


What is the proper fuel before exercise? How much fuel before exercise? How much time before exercising should I be fueling up? Ugh. So confusing! It doesn’t help that I am not a breakfast person. And I am definitely not a first thing in the morning kind of breakfast person. But I do like to exercise in the morning. If I wake up at 7:30, I am not hungry until about 10. However, in order to work out I know I need to eat so I have been consuming breakfast on a regular basis since August when I joined the gym since most of the classes I attend are around 9:30 am.

Today was not a proper fuel before exercise kind of day. I realized about 15 minutes into my Body Combat class that I had not fueled properly to make it through this class with my usually amount of energy. To be fair I had already taken a 30 minutes arms class, followed by 20 minutes on the Elliptical machine, and had planned on doing an hour of this Body Combat class. I had done this routine a few times before with no issues. Today, however, the problem was two fold. I had eaten breakfast about 30-45 minutes earlier than usual since I had to get my son to an early morning well check up at the doctor’s office. I hadn’t been to the grocery store in 10 days (that’s normal) and the fridge was quite bare. I ate about a half cup of Greek Yogurt with maybe a half cup of Fiber One cereal. The amount I had eaten was clearly not enough to sustain me throughout my exercise. Normally I don’t eat much more than that, except maybe some berries on top or instead of the Fiber One a mixture of almonds, hemp, chia, and pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, and dried cranberries. The latter has been my go to lately and has been doing a superb job of fueling me properly, so maybe I should stick with that. I think it has something to do with the almonds and chia seeds. But more on that later.

These are some things I noticed during that Body Combat class:  I had little energy. My balance was more off than usual. I was having trouble concentrating. All I could think about was getting some FOOD IN MY BELLY! I was not having fun because I could barely do the work out. I ended up leaving the class 10 minutes early (I managed to stick it out for 50 minutes, but after the 8 minute cardio section towards the end I knew I was done.).

So what did I learn? Bring an energy bar or some other snack (preferably one with carbohydrates and/or protein) to eat before class! The point is that your body needs proper fuel before working out. Think of your body like your car. In order to drive your car, you need to put gas in it. To keep your car in good working order, you need to keep up with maintenance such as oil changes and regular check ups. Just like your body. Your body needs proper maintenance in order to stay healthy. If you take care of your body with proper nutrition, exercise, regular check ups, etc. your body will be like a well oiled machine.

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