Nutrients and Fluid: Before exercise
Exercise is strenuous and requires a great amount of energy, so it is important to fuel up properly. One of the most important nutrients to consume before exercise is carbohydrates. Carbohydrate rich foods help to fill up your muscle glycogen stores and will provide energy during the workout. The best way to think of this is putting gas in your car. You wouldn’t drive your car on empty, because we all know it wouldn’t go very far. Well the same goes for your body. Without carbohydrates our bodies wouldn’t go very far either. So, the bottom line is carbohydrates are very important to eat before exercise. But how much and when?
My recommendation is that athletes try to consume 1g/kg carbs (1 gram of carbs per kilogram of bodyweight) one hour before exercise or 2g/kg carbs two hours before. One thing to remember is that different types and quantities of foods digest at different rates of times. Eating smaller amounts of food, choosing low fat, and low fiber can help reduce digesting time and reduce any distress.
Lastly, pay attention to hydration as well. Water is vital for nutrient transport in the body. So, staying hydrated is critical for our bodies to work at their optimal level. One recommendation is that at minimum, 4 hours before exercise, athletes should aim to drink 5-7mL/kg water (milligrams of water per kilogram of bodyweight). Sports drinks can be helpful for those who have trouble eating a lot before exercise as most have simple carbohydrates (sugar) in them already. One thing that I find to help with staying hydrated and helping nutrient uptake in the body is to drink around 16 ounces of water with your pre-workout/exercise meal.
Now it's time to fuel up and go!