All it takes is one poorly planned pre-workout meal for you to realize that perhaps a burrito with refried beans is not the best choice to eat right before a long run. Sure, burritos are delicious, but there are other foods out there that might serve you better right before exercising.
In a perfect world, you should try to eat higher carbohydrate meals and snacks before your workout, says Kelly Pritchett, PhD, RD, CSSD, assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University. Since carbohydrates are our bodies' main source of energy, it'll will increase your energy levels during exercise, and allow you to perform at a higher intensity, she says.
Your pre-workout snack should also have a moderate amount of protein to help with muscle recovery, but lower amounts of fat and fiber, Dr. Pritchett says. "You want to consume foods that are going to digest quickly and not sit in the stomach," she says. Fat and fiber tend to take longer to digest, so they can lead to uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms during a workout.
Here are some snack combos and easy-to-prepare meals that would be ideal to eat two to three hours before a workout, according to Dr. Pritchett. If you're competing or participating in a race, it's important not to eat anything new, and stick to what your body can tolerate, she says. In other words, save the burrito for another day.