How does a fitness pro approach eating before a workout? Four trainers who spend lots of time coaching others to be their best shared what they eat when it comes to fueling up before their own workout:
Jenn Flemish, ACE-CPT at Atlanta's True Evolution Training says she usually exercises in the early morning. "So I go for traditional oatmeal with fresh blueberries and a little almond butter," she said. "That seems to be the right amount of carbs, protein and fat to give me the right amount of energy I need. "
Vance Smith, NASM CPT, of Atlanta says he makes sure he is hydrated before a work out before even considering food. "For me, this means I've drank at least a half gallon of water that day," he said. "The food I choose to eat before I work out is contingent upon the time of day."
For a morning session, Smith's favorite pre-workout meal is oatmeal. "The complex carbohydrates digest slower, thus providing a long-lasting, steady stream of fuel to power me through a workout and the rest of my day," he said.
Registered yoga teacher Caroline Gebhardt of FLOW Training, LLC, says she advocates intuitive eating at all times. She is also a mindful movement and fitness educator.
"That means I practice listening to my body's cues about how much and what to eat, and when," she said. "Intuitive or mindful eating can take a little practice to become attuned to your body and taste bud's needs, but it allows such freedom, health and pleasure to discover how to nourish yourself well."
Whether Gebhardt's workout consists of an authentic movement class, yoga or a brisk walk pushing a stroller, she says she finds she's most energetic and satisfied when she opts for a meal including healthy fats, colorful fruits and veggies, plenty of grains and protein. "In the morning, that might look like a full glass of water, coffee with cream, a waffle with crunchy peanut butter drizzled with agave nectar and a banana-spinach-berry smoothie," she said.
William Middleton of CPT Fitness Tri says he prefers to have some complex carbohydrates before a workout, such as oatmeal. "I may even throw in a tablespoon of peanut butter to get some fat and protein to slow down the absorption," he said. "Overall, I look for foods that don't have a high glycemic index."