People have different reasons that motivate them to start working out.
Some want to improve their health, while others want to look and feel nicer.
Unfortunately, physical exercises I just a part of the process. Eating healthy foods, and planning your pre-workout and post-workout meals are equally important.
You shouldn’t eat right before the practice. Your last meal should be about 2 hours before it, and you can consume light and healthy foods, such as vegetables, fish, and other light foods. After workout, you should consume foods to restore energy and get enough protein. You can enjoy a protein smoothie.
To learn more about what to eat before and after Pilates and how to make the most of your diet to get the results you want, read the following chapters:
Should I do Pilates on an Empty Stomach?
If you are one of those who prefer to practice Pilates in the morning, you are most likely to skip a meal before it.
Some of us just don’t like eating early, while others will try to save some time if they got up a bit late. The third group of people who think about skipping meals and working out on an empty stomach are those who are trying to lose weight.
You may also think that such a core-oriented workout program will work best on an empty stomach. You all know how unpleasant can be activating your abs after a large meal.
But, working out on an empty stomach is a mistake.
First of all, your body needs nutrients and energy to function properly. If you lack that, you can run out of strength during your practice and you will not perform well. Improperly done exercises will not bring results and even worse, you could get injured.
I am not saying that you should have a large meal right before, but a light breakfast if it is morning, or a snack if your class is in the afternoon are mandatory.
If you really don’t want to eat, you should at least have a protein based healthy smoothie or shake.
You can prepare it yourself; it takes just a few minutes and it will make a large difference. You can use berries, nuts, banana, a bit of fruit and oatmeal, or even some vegetables if you prefer. You can adjust the quantity of ingredients to suit your needs and taste.
These smoothies are great because you can even take them with you and have a bit after workout to.
Working out on an empty stomach will not help you burn calories more, or lose weight faster. Starving yourself will actually have the opposite effect in the long-term.
What to Eat Before Pilates Workout?
I already mentioned that working out on an empty stomach is not advisable. But what if your pilates class is in the afternoon, and you will definitely eat before?
What to eat before Pilates workout?
First of all, well-balanced and healthy food is important for everyone, not jut for people practicing Pilates. So, you should avoid eating processed sugars, overly processed food in general, and saturated fats. Of course, you can have a piece of cake or an ice cream, but not on a daily basis.
When it comes to pre-workout meal, it has to be light and contain a small amount carbohydrate to give you energy. Bananas are one of those options, or maybe a peanut butter (those made from just peanuts, usually sold in healthy food stores) and a piece of whole grain bread. Pilates is not a cardio workout like long distance running, and getting a lot of carbs is unnecessary.
The food has to be light because of the core exercises and abdominal muscles that are going to be very active.
If you are not looking for a snack, and want to have a lunch a few hours before, you can use the following food and prepare it in a healthy way (use an oven or cook it, instead of frying it):
• All kinds of nuts and berries
• Cheese like mozzarella, cottage cheese or Ricotta
• Eggs (preferably boiled)
Foods mentioned above are not a definite list, and they are here to give you an idea of easily digested options that will give you energy but won’t impair your workout abilities.
So, I wrote what to eat before Pilates, but don’t forget drinking. Hydration is equally important.
Have a full glass of water half an hour before. You will start your practice well hydrated, but before you start, your body will have enough time to expel the extra water.
How Long After Eating Should I Do Pilates? [When?]
It is important to know what to eat before and after Pilates workout, but you should also know when to eat.
Having a lunch 20 minutes before your practice is a very bad idea. Also, not eating for 12 hours before is also not advisable.
You should eat no less than 1,5 hours before your practice, but also not more than 3 hours before.
This is an estimate and you have to be aware of the fact that every body is different. Some people digest faster than others or digest certain foods at a different pace.
Time of your last meal before Pilates also depends on a type of meal.
If you are having just a light smoothie, you can consume it even less than an hour before. But if you are going to eat a lunch, such as fish with vegetables, do it 1,5-2 hours before. A bit “heavier” food should be consumed 3 hours before (such as meat, pasta and similar).
If you have no experience with planning your meals before workout, you will have to try and test a few until you figure out what suits you.
The idea behind it is to have enough energy but not to have a stomach full of food that is not digested.
For Pilates practice, this is very important because it is core and abs oriented. Crunching your abs and breathing properly is hard when you ate a lot just moments before it.
It can make you slow and even induce nausea.
During Pilates practice, especially if you are enrolled into classes like power Pilates, you should have a bottle of water to drink during practice. Sweating makes you lose water.
And, What to Eat After Pilates Workout?
Planning your meal before practice is important, but you shouldn’t forget about the meal after it.
So, what to eat after Pilates workout?
You can consider this as refuelling. During practice, your body used some fats and protein, as well as carbs.
Make sure you do not fill up your body with unnecessary nutrients after practice, which are causing more harm than good.
If you want, you can consume the same foods as you did before, but if you had peanut butter and bread, which are mostly carbs and fat, do not eat more of it.
Depending on a time of day and the following meal, weather it is lunch or dinner, you should focus on replenishing energy and feeding your muscles. Proteins are a great option. Think about chicken breasts and vegetables. Healthy fast found in some nuts and fish are also a good option.
Make sure you eat something within 30 minutes after practice. And drink at least one glass of water. If you do not plan to eat a full meal within those 30 minutes, have a smoothie. Remember that I already wrote that a good thing about these smoothies is that you can leave some for post-workout use. So, have some.
At this time, you can consume all kinds of seeds like chia, and foods like legumes, beans and similar that are healthy, but can have a bloating effect so those should be avoided before Pilates workout.
It is important to know that our body needs all the nutrients, including carbs and fats, and avoiding those completely is not healthy.
Just make sure that you take a proper amount and that they come from a healthy source.
What NOT TO EAT Before Pilates Workout?
Now you got the idea about what to eat before Pilates and what to eat after Pilates.
But there are certain foods, that should be avoided before practice. Some are not healthy, while other are ok, but better to be avoided before your workout session.
Here are a few examples:
• Red meat – certain types of read meat are perfectly acceptable to consume but all of them take a long time to digest and are not good as pre-workout food. Processed meats are not healthy and avoid them completely if possible.
• Beans, cabbage and similar food – these foods are healthy, tasty and good to eat, however, they may cause bloating and discomfort during practice.
• Milk – some people are lactose sensitive and can have certain problems if they consume milk and engage in a strong core activity immediately after.
• Chocolate, chips and snacks – These are full of processed sugars and saturated fats. Avoid them at all times if possible. Also, be careful when buying protein or energy bars. They are advertised as healthy, but many of those have added sugars. Read the label.
• White bread, pasta and white rice – These foods are full of carbs and you do not need such a large amount of it before a relatively mild exercise.
• Spicy food – some people can easily get stomach pain and heartburn if they consume spicy food before workout.
• Too much of anything – avoid eating large meals and overeat before practice.
To get the most of your practice, be full of energy and give your body proper nutrients, you have to know what to eat before and after Pilates.
As it is a relatively mild exercise program, there are no special preparations and meal planning. Make sure you eat healthy food with well-balanced nutrient content. You can have some carbs before to give you energy, and some protein-based foods after to give your body nutrients important for muscles.
Avoid unhealthy foods that result in weight gain, increased blood pressure and bad health in general. And always remember to hydrate enough.