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May 23, 2012 at 2:31 PMComments: 4 Faves: 0

Breaking Bad Habits: Part II

By Cornelius Bounds, CPT More Blogs by This Author

Most of the time we do certain things out of desire and other times, unfortunately, it’s more so by force and demand.  From day to day you sometimes jeopardize your physical performance and health by not providing your body with proper nutrition before, or after workouts.

Hand In Hand.

For many of you, when you wake up in the morning, it has been at least 6-8 hours since you’ve eaten. Think about it, you are busy from the time your feet hit the floor in the morning until you lay down at night. Your day is filled with priorities and demands. Skipping breakfast to get to work on time can be harsh on the body for you “A.M.” exercisers. For you mid day exercisers,tired woman stopping by McDonalds before your workouts gives you little to no nutritional foundation to sustain your energy levels during your workout. Let’s not forget about you late night exercisers and trainers who’ll eat just about anything before workouts because time didn’t permit for you to finish lunch.

Whether you are engaging in light, moderate, or vigorous exercise, it is vital that you charge and replenish the body before and after workouts.

Why Fueling Before Your Workout Is Important.

Although your body burns stored fat when you exercise, the main fuel is carbohydrates which are stored in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen.

Not fueling your body properly before and after working out will cause it to shut down completely. Purposely dodging a meal or snack before exercising over a period of time, will also decrease performance, delaying results from your workouts, and ultimately destabilizing your overall health. Depending on how long you’ve practiced not eating before exercising can also effect your focus, energy levels, and ultimately effect your long term health.

On The Other Hand!

 Eating a pregame meal or pre-workout is a must as it gives you sustained energy for your workout, without having to be distracted by fatigue, over stressing the muscles, sluggishness, and hunger pains.  Maximizing your workout does not begin in the gym, it begins with nutrition. The key is how you feel and what works best for you, but keep in mind the size of your meal does matter.

1. Large meals should be eaten at least three hours before your workout.

2. Small meals should be consumed two to three hours before exercise.

3. Small snacks should be eaten 45 minutes to an hour prior to your workout.

Side effects of not eating before workouts!

  • Heart Problems-As your workout intensifies your heart muscles work harder. Nutrients along with oxygen will help insure the heart meets rigorous demands.
  • Anemia- Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the organs, muscles, and tissues of the body
  • Iron deficiencies- loss of energy

faintFact: Low blood sugar will make you tired, and sluggish, and maybe even dizzy while training. As a trainer, I can vividly remember picking people up off the floor from fainting during a workout. My first question immediately is,” Have you eaten anything to day?” Or “Did you eat before coming to the gym?”

Fact: Your body needs glucose (blood sugar) for fuel along with stored fat. Without fueling the body, depending on your rate of metabolism, the body burns 10% (give or take) more protein when exercising on an empty stomach, essentially eating its own muscle tissue to obtain glycogen once it runs out. Basically, the body is taking protein from your muscles to fuel your workout, which can lead to losing muscle mass.

Tips to sustain overall efficiency

  • Try and consume a light meal or snack 30-45 minutes before your workout.
  • Avoid big meals:  The idea behind avoiding a big meal just before you do your heavy exercise is simple.  Filing the gut before eating, forces the blood needed for your workout to go straight to your digestive system to aid with the digestive process. Starting the workout, your blood immediately hits the muscles you are exercising sometimes causing a blood deficiency, resulting in vomiting or cramps.
  • Find a pre-workout snack or meal that’s best for you, keep in mind everyone is different when engaging in different levels of intensity for workouts. Find the pre-workout food that’s best for you, and keeps your energy level high, and focus very keen throughout your workout.

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  • Very good information to keep in mind when exercising. You not only gave good advice and suggestions, but you also explained why it is important to do this vs that. Great article!!

  • Rwilliams822,

    The more you train, your bodies adaptability increases, enabling the body to store more energy (glycogen) in the muscles and liver.

  • Your blogs are great!

  • Thanks Garchow...

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