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By: Lisa Payne

Have you ever started an amazing leg day only to lose your energy halfway through? Or what about realizing you ate a little too much before Pilates? Trying to decide what to eat before every different kind of workout takes some trial and error. But with the right match, you’ll have the energy to not only make it through your workouts, but you’ll also have energy to spare.

Find out what you should be eating before working out, broken down by the specific type of exercise.

What to Eat Before Working Out (Based on How You Exercise)

high intensity interval training

The Workout: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT is done by performing short, intense bursts of cardio exercise followed by rest periods of equal or shorter time. Since HIIT workouts often includes whole-body movements like burpees, box jumps, mountain climbers or plyometrics, they burn a higher number of calories and require adequate energy supply to not lose steam early on.

What to Eat Beforehand:

  • 2 T of nut butter with a banana
  • Green apple
  • Celery sticks or sprouted crackers
  • Greek yogurt with fruit

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endurance cardio

The Workout: Endurance Cardio 

For longer cardio workouts like running, cycling, or swimming, you’ll need to keep your energy going over a longer period of time. If you’re in training for endurance sports like marathons, ultra-marathons, or cycling races, you’ll need to consume food before and possibly even during the events.

What to Eat Beforehand:

  • Whole-grain cereal with milk
  • Bagel or toast with a lean meat or nut butter

For mid-endurance sports, consider fueling up with a protein bar or energy gels.

strength training

The Workout: Strength Training

With leg workouts, all that power has to come from somewhere. Because your lower body has the largest muscles, working the leg press, squats, or deadlifting calls for enough blood flow to reach the working muscles in order to complete the task. It’s not uncommon to feel lightheaded in between sets when that blood flow returns to its normal state. So, be sure to eat the correct foods, stay hydrated (we recommend Vital Proteins Collagen Water), and lift the appropriate weight.

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What to Eat Beforehand:

yoga workout

The Workout: Pilates or Yoga

Both Pilates and yoga use breath to maximize each movement. If you’ve had too much to eat, it can be hard to fully breathe. And since both workouts utilize your core, it might be better to save brunch for afterwards.

What to Eat Beforehand:

When matching up what you eat for each type of workout that you do, remember that carbohydrates give you energy and protein builds muscle and keeps you fuller longer. Share with Lively: What healthy foods do you match to workouts?