Best Pre Workout Food Routine

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As Caroline noted in her last VarCity post, we know a lot of you will be hitting the streets this new year.  Whether you’re an experienced runner getting back into a running routine or run/walking for the first time, what you put in your body is just as important as what you wear when you start running.  Consider food as part of your gear and follow this best pre workout routine.  

WHAT TO EAT

The best pre workout food is roughly the size of your fist.  That’s about the size of what you need to eat before and after you exercise.  So, think small pre workout food  appetizer, not meal.  The best pre workout food should include carbs with some protein, says Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a certified specialist in sports dietetics. The traditional peanut butter sandwich is a great option as a pre workout snack.  Eat half of the sandwich one hour before your run and half soon after.  Low-fat chocolate milk works very well, too.

WHEN TO EAT

One of the biggest mistakes new runners make is to skip pre workout food altogether, so you don’t have any fuel to keep you going, says Ms. Bonci. Plan to eat one hour before your run to boost energy without upsetting your stomach.

When you’ve finished running, eat within 15 minutes of stopping — it helps the body re-synthesize muscle glycogen and recover more quickly.  It may also help prevent or reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness.

Your workout snack shouldn’t replace a meal. Keep your routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner and add in the pre- and post-exercise snack.  That means eating at least five times a day.  “When people are physically active, anything under three meals a day is not going to be enough,” says Ms. Bonci.