The Importance Pre-Workout Nutrition
This is a weekly occurrence at 4 Performance and gyms around the country… 15 minutes or so into training, someone suddenly feels dizzy and weak. We go through a series of questions, and nine times out of 10 the answer is the same. “ I haven’t eaten in several hours,” or the classic, “I didn’t/I don’t eat breakfast” Though most common among teens, we have seen it in Group X classes as well, especially around noon! So, what’s happening? Exercise demands that you deliver fuel to your working muscles. The source for that fuel is plain old sugars that are either circulating in the bloodstream or stored in the muscles. High intensity exercise really can’t use fat stores for energy much. So, if you come in on an empty stomach, and especially if it is a habit to skip breakfast or eat less than you burn, your body is left with demand for energy that cannot be met, because you’re left with no fuel/sugars in the blood, and/or your muscle energy stores are very limited. The end result is that you suddenly have no energy, and feel dizzy. Lack of energy from lack of fuel is easy enough to understand, but why the dizziness, and why do we suggest a quick snack or sugary drink for it? It’s because our brain’s exclusive fuel is...you guessed it, sugar, specifically glucose. Without it, the dizziness occurs. The solution is simple enough, short term and long term. You need to eat close to what you burn every day, and also need to eat in the two to four hours before you exercise. It’s important to learn what your window is for eating before you exercise, because some people will actually feel nauseous if they eat too close to their exercise. A two to four hour window works for most people, but for some people it could be as little a one hour. Exercise places enormous demands on the body. You can use it to improve health, fitness and performance on the field and at work. Making sure you get enough fuel, at the right times, is a critical part of that equation. Without that, some, or even worse, all of your effort in the gym can be wasted. Think about it this way; your body exists to survive. Unless you provide enough food energy to it to meet the demands you place on it, your body will have to find it somewhere. One “convenient” source is the very muscle you work so hard to develop and improve. That’s right, your body will break down its own muscle, and save its precious fat stores of energy! The take home...Mom was right!! Eat your breakfast...and your pre-exercise meal!!