One too many times, I’ve had a client who experiences some level of discomfort during their session as a result of something they ate before they came to the studio. While it is always a good idea to fuel up for Pilates, you must do so carefully, remembering that Pilates is all about the Powerhouse. It takes trial and error to know what works for you individually, in order to keep your energy up but the heartburn at bay. Generally speaking though, here are a few simple guidelines to follow:
– Avoid spicy foods: spicy foods have a tendency to cause some heartburn and indigestion already in some people. Compound that with a focus on abdominal workouts, inversions, and other moves in Pilates, and you may find yourself regretting the fiery food you consumed earlier.
– Avoid eating too much: yes, you should absolutely eat something before you workout. That way your body has the physical energy to get through the hour, your focus will be sharper, and you will recover faster afterwards. That said, think snack-like portions or small meal rather than a full meal portion, so that your body can fully digest before you head into the studio.
– Don’t eat right before: try to eat a good hour or more before your Pilates session, if possible. This will give your body time to properly digest the food so your stomach will be satisfied, but comfortable during your workout. Eating right beforehand can cause some indigestion once your body starts moving, and eating too soon will leave you hungry halfway through.
– Eat protein & carbs: Protein is excellent for your muscle development, while carbs give you lasting energy. A mix of the two is ideal for your pre-workout meal/snack. Make sure they are healthy choices though, not highly processed or high in sugar.
Here are a few examples below for inspiration—but again, you’ll have to experiment to see what works best for you!
Small fruit & yogurt smoothie
Piece of fruit + handful nuts
Peanut butter sandwich
Yogurt, granola, & fruit
Veggie wrap or light turkey wrap
Small salad with protein
Scrambled eggs & veggies
Oatmeal with fruit
Whole grain toast with nut butter
Remember that the farther ahead of time you eat before your workout, the more food you can consume since your body has the time to digest it. Always try to eat whole foods and limit the added sugars or processed items. If necessary, prepare something ahead of time and take it on the go so you know you have healthy food on hand. Bon appetit, and see you at the studio!