Most people know that eating before a workout is essential, but they don't understand why.
Some people think that if you eat too much before your workout, you'll feel sluggish and slow during the class. Others believe that if you eat nothing at all, your body will burn muscle for energy instead of fat. The truth is somewhere in between these two extremes.
We're going to explore what foods work best for pre-workout meals as well as how different types of food can affect your weight loss goals during and after workouts. I'll also share with you my favorite foods and recipes to eat (and when I eat them) before my Peloton workouts!
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Eating Before a Workout
- What to Eat before a Peloton Class
- What do Peloton instructors Eat Before
- How to Fuel During a Peloton Workout
- Let's Stay in Touch
- When and What to Eat After a Peloton Class
- Best Recipes
- What I Eat Before I Workout
- Meal Prepping and Peloton
- How to Diet with Peloton
- Final Thoughts
Benefits of Eating Before a Workout
Eating before a workout is actually quite beneficial. It can help you from working out on an empty stomach, which leaves you feeling weak and shaky. Eating something before your workout can also prevent dizziness, fainting spells, and nausea.
Before turning to sugar-laden granola bars or protein-heavy shakes or bars, explore the benefits of some lesser-known pre-workout snacks and meals like avocados, apples, or white rice. You can also try my favorite pre-workout snack: a banana and almonds!
The trick to eating before a workout is finding a balance of foods that work with your body. You want to have a little something in your stomach before taking a Peloton class, but you don't want it to be overly heavy (this isn't the time to have a huge breakfast!). I've also found that eating at least 45 minutes before a class has been best for me because I don't feel overly full but still have the energy to keep moving throughout a class.
If you've never eaten before a workout, the best way to start is to slowly ease into it. Try eating before an easy or moderate workout and give yourself a little time to digest. Start small with something that's easily digestible like half an apple and peanut butter, and give yourself a little time before the workout begins. Continue doing this for a few days, and then try swapping out with different foods to see what works best for you.
What to Eat before a Peloton Class
My pre-workout meal of choice is a banana and almonds. This combination has worked well for me because it isn't overly heavy, but it gives me a little energy boost before jumping on the bike.
If I'm doing a longer workout, I'll try to eat something a little heavier. When I was training for a marathon, one of my favorite pre-workout meals was an Uncrustable PB&J sandwich about 45 minutes before my long run (a bagel with peanut butter was also a close second!).
Overnight oats are another one of my favorite meals to have before I work out. I make a batch every Sunday for the week and will eat those for breakfast before my workout. I find they're not too heavy on my stomach and do provide me with the fuel I need to get through a tough workout.
What do Peloton instructors Eat Before
Each Peloton instructor is unique and eats differently before a workout. Here are some of the instructor's favorite pre-workout meals.
- Ally Love likes to have a banana or apple with almond butter before a tough workout.
- Matt Wilpers likes to have a coffee and brown sugar oatmeal before a hard workout or race.
- Robin Arzón likes to have a smoothie before her workouts.
How to Fuel During a Peloton Workout
Now that we've talked about pre-workout meals let's discuss how to properly nourish your body during a Peloton workout.
The most important thing you can do during your workout is to drink water. I like to keep a big water bottle on my bike to remind myself to drink often. I usually will take a sip during every break, instead of waiting for the instructor to call out a water break.
If I'm doing a longer ride or run (I define this as something over an hour), I'll also like to have an electrolyte drink with me like Nuun as well as a small snack, like a banana or energy gels. I've found that eating during a workout takes a lot of practice - both with actually eating while running or cycling, as well as finding out what works well for your body.
When and What to Eat After a Peloton Class
After a Peloton class, you'll want to eat something to help refuel. One of my favorite post Peloton snacks is to have a Built Bar with a Body Armour Lyte (Coconut is my favorite!) within 30 minutes of class ending.
Another option is to have a smoothie or an apple and peanut butter like I mentioned was one of my favorite pre-workout meals. The best snacks to have after a workout are those that are a little higher in protein (a protein shake would also work great!).
Here are some of my favorite pre-workout meals and snacks to make before a workout:
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls
- Easy DIY Uncrustable Sandwiches
- Blueberry Overnight Oats
- Peanut Butter Trail Mix Energy Balls
- Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
- Avocado Chocolate Protein Balls
What I Eat Before I Workout
On a typical day, I like to eat overnight oats or an oatmeal muffin with water about an hour before I'll go for a run or ride. However, since becoming pregnant I've noticed that my body craves a little more before workouts, so I've started to also add a hard-boiled egg. This keeps me full all through my training and isn't too heavy on my stomach!
When I do a longer workout, like a long run or endurance ride (generally anything over an hour), I need something a little more. I've found what works best for me is to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (homemade uncrustables are my favorite) or half a bagel with peanut butter.
I also like to bring fuel with me on longer runs and rides. If I'm doing a long ride, I like to have a banana about halfway through, or if I'm running, I really like these gels (I'll start using these about 45 minutes into my runs).
Meal Prepping and Peloton
I like to work out in the morning, so I don't have time to make much food right before I workout. I prefer to meal prep once a week so I always have a healthy food option on hand.
I used to meal prep on Sundays for lunches and dinners but haven't had the time lately, so I've been relying on meal prep services. My favorite service is Icon Meals because they're quick and easy to reheat. The meals come fully cooked and portioned (with macro calculations!), so I just have to reheat and eat.
Another meal prep service I like is Hungry Root. Hungry Root takes a little more time to prepare because you cook the food, but the meals are ready in under 15 minutes and really tasty.
Related Post: Icon Meals Review
How to Diet with Peloton
Now that we've covered the benefits of eating before a workout let's dig into how to diet with Peloton.
Can you lose weight with Peloton?
Losing weight ultimately comes down to calories in and calories out. If you consume fewer calories than you're burning each day, you'll lose weight with Peloton. However, frequently we tend to underestimate the calories that we eat and overestimate how many calories we burn.
The best way to combat this is to accurately track what you're eating and use a heart rate monitor to help calculate how many calories you burn during a workout. Also, remember to update your Peloton profile as your weight changes! It won't automatically update and can cause the calorie burn calculation to be significantly off.
Using a heart rate monitor will be more accurate because it reads your heart rate instead of a generic calculation to estimate your calories burn. I've found that when I forgot to use my heart rate monitor, Peloton will overestimate my calorie burn by almost twice the amount! Yikes!
My favorite heart rate monitor to use is my Scosche, but there are many options available. Here's my guide on top heart rate monitors for Peloton.
Best Diet for Peloton
Ultimately the best diet for Peloton is the one you will stick with long-term. This is usually a diet that is sustainable and not a crash diet.
Over the years, I've tried Weight Watchers (or WW), Noom, calorie counting with My Fitness Pal, and more. The one diet that I've stuck to is macro counting with Stronger U. Macro counting is a little more involved than calorie counting because it tracks macronutrients - fat, protein, and carbohydrates - but is often more accurate than calorie counting.
I use the nutrition tracker Cronometer to track my food and nutrients and then check in weekly with my coach at Stronger U. My coach (a registered dietician) can make tweaks to my daily macro goals.
It's generally a good idea to eat before you workout, and I hope this article has provided some pre-workout meal and snack ideas that will help you stay fueled through your workout!
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