By Jennifer Lee, MS RD LDN
After exercise you might notice your hands are warmer while your abdomen is cooler. This happens because during exercise your body is more concerned about fueling extremities for performance rather than fueling your digestive tract to breakdown food. As a result, when you exercise your body pulls blood away from the digestive tract and sends it to your extremities.
Based on this phenomenon, the closer you get to exercise the smaller your meal should be. Larger meals can promote digestive discomfort. It’s also important to consider not only the size, but the type of food you eat too. Science shows that foods high in carbohydrates, moderate to low in protein and low in fat are the best pre-workout fuel for your body.
Food consumed immediately prior to exercise should contain 15 grams or less of carbohydrates per serving. It should also have as little protein, fat and fiber as possible. Protein, fat and fiber slow down digestion. The further away you get from exercise the larger your meal and the more protein, fat and fiber you can consume. Check out this chart for some pre-workout ideas!