Q: I often get nauseous while working out. I’ve tried eating a few different things before workouts, but what do your recommend I eat so I can get through my workouts without getting sick? -Jaime
A: Jamie, pre and post-workout nutrition is extremely important, not only to avoid feeling sick during workouts, but to allow you to perform at your best while maximizing recovery.
Eating the wrong foods or missing the timing of your meals could cause extra stress on the digestive system, a spike or drop in blood sugar, or just an overall sense of weakness.
Practice the following tips and take full advantage of your pre and post-workout meals.
Don’t overlook the importance of water. If you’re dehydrated, your workout performance will suffer and you will feel exhausted. Dehydration increases your chances for headaches and head rushes, muscle cramps, nausea, and poor overall performance – not the recipe for a healthy workout. Chronic dehydration can’t be corrected by simply drinking more water during your workout, so stay properly hydrated consistently by drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water a day. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you need around 80 ounces of clean filtered water daily. You may need more or less depending on your activity levels.
Timing of calories and nutrients before and after each workout is key. A pre-workout snack should be consumed about 30-90 minutes prior to your workout depending on the complexity of the food consumed. A meal or snack will take more time to digest than a simple liquid shake. A post-workout snack should be consumed immediately after or up to 45 minutes after the workout is completed. Your cells are like a sponge during this time and have already begun the recovery process – so nutrient ingestion is a must.
The types of foods consumed will affect your results. A great option for pre and post-workout nutrition is to bracket your workouts with a simple liquid shake. Add the following ingredients to a shaker bottle and shake well: 6 oz. orange juice, 6 oz. coconut milk, 6 oz. coconut water, and 1 scoop whey or egg protein. This will ensure simple carbs and medium chain fatty acids for energy, protein for muscle repair, and electrolytes to maximize hydration. Drink half the shake before your workout, and the other half after. Another option is 6oz. of Greek yogurt with a quarter cup of blueberries and a Tbsp. of flax oil mixed in. The goal is to get a balance of healthy macronutrients but not to consume so much that you feel bloated or weighed down.
Listen to your body. If you’re feeling weak or you find yourself shaking or you sometimes have a headache during your workouts, chances are your blood sugar is out of the ideal range. Try changing the timing and types of foods you’re eating before your workouts so you don’t get spikes and dips in blood sugar. If your stomach feels bloated during your workouts you may have to lighten your snack or allow more time for digestion. If you feel ravenous following your workouts, ensure that you’re getting enough sustenance in your post-workout snack and that you’re consuming it within 45 minutes of your workout.
So prepare yourself for a great workout and feel the difference it makes.