What should I eat before I work out?

I’m asked this question all the time.  First of all, everybody is different.  Some people can scarf down a big meal right before they work out while others can’t even eat a grape without having stomach issues.  This means you’re going to have to experiment to see what’s right for you.  But here are some guidelines:

If you work out in the morning you might try it on an empty stomach first and see if you run you out of energy during your workout.  Within 30 minutes of finishing your workout  it’s important to eat a breakfast that includes lean protein (like egg whites with spinach) and carbs (like whole wheat toast) to give your body the building blocks it needs to repair and rejuvenate itself.
If you work out later in the morning you might try eating a piece of fruit along with some protein like peanut butter or cottage cheese to give you a little energy (just watch your portions because, while healthy, these foods are LOADED with calories).   I cannot stress enough how important it is to get some healthy proteins and carbs into your body immediately after your workout.  The egg white omelet breakfast I mentioned earlier is great, but if you don’t have time a high quality protein shake or a Daryl’s Hi N R G bar is also a good option.  Ask your Instructor about them, they’re all natural and they taste amazing!
If you work out in the early afternoon you may want to try eating a fruit plus peanut butter (or 1/2 a Daryl’s bar) about an hour before your workout.  Going without eating anything after lunch is too long and you’ll probably feel tired as your blood sugar drops late in the day. Your work and your workout will suffer.
If you work out later in the evening you may want to eat a light dinner and a larger healthy snack immediately after your workout.  Or if your stomach is sensitive hold out for your snack until late afternoon and then eat dinner right after your workout.  Remember to give your body those all-important building blocks including lean protein (like fish) and healthy carbs like quinoa and veggies (not breaded or deep-fried, of course).
In all these cases you’re going to have to balance waiting too long between meals and feeling tired with eating too close to your workout and feeling uncomfortable.  Plus, If you work out in the morning the most important thing you need to do is drink water…  not coffee, not tea (yes, you can have them too), not sports drinks (more on them in another post) but plain water is HUGE!  If you can’t tolerate plain, cold water in the morning try it warmed up with some lemon.  Remember even though you’ve been sleeping your body is still using water to function so just about everyone wakes up dehydrated.  Again, you’re going to have to experiment with how much and when is right for you.