Today’s question is about eating a snack before exercise…

Along with my weight loss, I’ve been eating and drinking a lot more healthy than I used to. I’ve totally dropped the sodas and have been drinking water for every meal. I’ve been finding the healthiest choice each place I go, while still enjoying myself.

Speaking of eating, is it OK to eat before exercise? I do this often to get a little extra energy. I don’t ever eat anything large, usually just an apple or banana. I have low blood sugar and I get light-headed easily if I do not have a plentiful amount of sugar before any type of activity.

Thanks,
Light-headed Larry

Hi Larry,

Eating before exercise is usually fine. It will depend on your personal preferences as well as the type of workout you’re doing. (And as you can imagine, what works for a 60 minute workout in the gym is not the same as what works when fueling a 24-hour mountain bike race.)

There are plenty of days when I get light-headed and can’t focus on a workout if I haven’t eaten, so I always eat before and/or during a workout unless it’s very short workout early in the morning.

With a light snack such as an apple or a banana, and a workout that’s an hour or less, you shouldn’t run into any problems. If your current routine works well for you, keep doing it!

It can be hard sticking to what works because you’ll always run into people who say “do this, not that” and it will be the exact opposite of everyone saying “do it this way, it works.” I couldn’t even list the number of theories out there. The truth is, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ eating plan.

So if you have found something that works for you, stick with that. If someone tells you, “fast for six hours before your workout,” but you already know that you can’t work out well without a snack, just ignore their advice.

I encounter a high number of people who say not to eat before a workout, don’t drink anything but water during a workout, and don’t eat immediately after a workout because you don’t need the calories. Sometimes I just have to laugh, because if I followed those guidelines for my workout and competition schedule, I’d most likely die!

So go ahead and eat your snacks and exercise, and enjoy it!

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Levi Bloom is an experienced endurance athlete who has been training and competing for over 17 years. A former Cat 1 road and mountain bike racer (professional class on the regional circuit), he is now a cycling coach (USA Cycling Level 3 Certified) and sports nutrition coach (Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified).

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