I always have a meal bar before my workout. I have heard recently that eating a meal bar or any kind of food with high carbs is a no no before a work out and before bedtime. Can you tell me why?

There are a variety of types of meal bars available on the market and people use these for various reasons. Some are geared specifically towards endurance athletes. These may contain a high amount of carbohydrates. Some are considered meal replacement bars and contain a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Snack bars are also available and these are a reduced calorie way to keep people satisfied between meals.

Proper nutrition is essential for a successful exercise regimen. One needs to have the right nutrients to help provide them energy, strength, and endurance. A meal bar can be a good precursor to a workout, however I would ask you to check out the label on your bar. First make sure that the calorie level fits into your daily calorie goals. A common mistake that people make is that they think they are going to burn off all of the calories from the bar in their workout. If your exercise regimen consists of walking for 20 minutes (150 pounds at 3 mph), you will burn approximately 80 calories. If the bar contains 300 calories, you will be left with an excess of 220 calories. This is fine as long as you have allotted for these as part of your total calorie intake for the day. Then, try to choose a bar that is low in fat and high in fiber, which can be a healthy addition to your diet.

Pre workout meals should contain a mix of complex carbohydrates and lean protein. I would recommend half of a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter or a cup of yogurt with fresh fruit. Your meal replacement bar can also fit in here. Just be sure that it contains protein, fiber and is low in fat. I would avoid eating too much of any type of food right before a workout and/or before bed. While, there is not a lot of research saying that nighttime eating will lead to weight gain, there is evidence that those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may have increased irritation when eating a big meal right before bed. It has also been suggested that a pre-bed meal may lead to interrupted sleep and increased nightmares.

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