While preparing a luscious fruit salad for a friend's potluck, I noshed on a bunch of diced melon and then decided to go for a run. Five minutes into my workout, I experienced one of the worst cramps in my belly. I tried everything to make it go away: massaging it, slowing down my pace, and raising my arms in the air, but walking was the only thing that helped. I cursed that stupid cantaloupe and watermelon for ruining my run. Learn from my mistakes, and choose an appropriate pre-workout snack.
- Fiber is not your friend: All that bulk that gets things moving in your system is bound to prevent you from moving when you exercise, since it can cause gas pains and may even necessitate a trip to the ladies' room.
- Go for a combo of protein and carbs: Carbs rather than protein offer your body fuel, so make sure your snack has an emphasis on carbs. Simple carbs are best, since they digest more easily than complex ones.
- Avoid foods that personally give you gas: A ripe pear with a handful of nuts might be the perfect pre-hike snack for your best friend, but that dangerous combo could be a tummy time bomb for you. If you've had bad luck with a food giving you gas in the past, it's not the best choice for your pre-workout snack.
- Remember it's just a snack: You don't need to eat a large quantity of food. If you do, then chances are you'll end up with cramps or a feeling of sluggishness. Shoot for a nibble that's about 150 calories.
- Choose energy bars wisely: Many contain 200 to 250 calories, so you'll want to eat only half and save the rest for after your seat-session.
- Timing is everything: Nosh on your snack about 30 minutes before setting out to exercise.
Here's a list of my favorite pre-workout snacks.
- Half a slice of whole wheat bread with a little almond butter.
- Half a banana mixed with half a cup of Greek yogurt.
- A few baby carrots with a small handful of peanuts.
- Two tablespoons cottage of cheese mixed with a quarter cup of sliced grapes.
- An ounce of cheese with some crackers.
Source: Flickr user rox sm