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How to Choose a Pre-Workout Snack

Dos and Don'ts of Pre-Workout Snacks

You nosh on a bunch of melon and head out for a run. Five minutes into your workout, you experience one of the worst cramps in your belly. You try everything to make it go away: massaging it, slowing down your pace, and raising your arms in the air, but walking is the only thing that helps. You curse that stupid cantaloupe and watermelon for ruining your run.

Certain foods can cause major digestive upset, so here are some tips on choosing 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 prehike 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 sweat session.
  • Timing is everything: Nosh on your snack about 30 minutes before setting out to exercise.

Here are some snack ideas:

  • 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
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock
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