Ask the Expert: What Should I Eat Before My Workout? [SLIDESHOW]By Steve Edwards
Steve Edwards is head of fitness and nutrition development at Beachbody®.
The answer depends on two factors: your overall diet and how intense your workout is. If you eat small, balanced meals every few hours while you're awake, you don't really need a preworkout meal strategy. Your body should have ample fuel to get you through any workout around an hour or less (longer workouts have specific needs).
However, if you go longer than 3 hours without eating, you should determine your needs based on a few things. First, how hard is your workout? Easy aerobics and other work where your heart rate doesn't exceed 140/150 bpm (easy yoga, slow jogging, cycling, hiking, etc.) don't use a lot of fuel (blood sugar and its back-up, glycogen) and can be done effectively on a fairly empty tank. Good hydration (water only) should be all the fuel you need.
Harder workouts, like INSANITY®, P90X®, or really anything in the Beachbody line that is hard for you, all have an anaerobic interval component which burns your limited stores of glycogen. Your body stores glycogen until you need it, but when your diet is very lean, like most Beachbody diet plans are, you will almost certainly deplete these stores before the end of your workout if you haven't eaten in a while. This condition, called "bonking," causes your performance to instantaneously plummet.
Here are some general rules to avoid the dreaded "bonk." Note that we're not suggesting you eat 3 separate meals in the hours leading up to exercise. Rather, pick the one that best suits your day.
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