I am often asked about what to eat before a Pilates Class. More often than not people come in either on a too full stomach or haven’t eaten for many hours and don’t have the calorie reserves to fuel their workout.
Here are a few helpful tips on Pre-Pilates meals and snacks:
- You definitely do not want to eat a large meal right before a Pilates Session. It is difficult to both digest and workout at the same time as your body must attempt to divert energy away from digestion in order to fuel your muscles. This is why you feel cramping, bloating etc. and sometimes may even feel slight nausea. Pulling your abdominal muscles “in and up” as we often say in class is particularly hard on a too-full stomach.
- You do not want to have gone more than 3 hours with no food. If your class is first thing in the morning, have a banana an hour prior to class. Even a few bites on the way to class will help and will not make you so full that you cannot workout. Not enough calories means that you will become exhausted quickly and may feel weak or even dizziness as your body expends a great deal of energy on little to no fuel
Taking Pilates Class After Dinner?
Have a full meal 2 hours before your session to have time to digest. A full meal with some protein, fat, and lots of veggies gives you just the right amount of pick-me-up to stay focused and power through your workout. Protein and fat are slow burning energy that give you the stamina and energy. They take a bit more work for your body to digest, so don’t dig into a steak 30 minutes before you walk in.
Unless you are doing an intermediate-advanced Pilates Class, Jumpboard or HIIT, you do not need carbs to burn in the same way that you do for more aerobic exercise. Pilates Cardio may not exactly equate to the same cardio expenditure of running for example, however depending on the class Pilates can be aerobic and increase calorie burn in which case carbs may be helpful.
Stick with What Works for YOU
Plan ahead and eat at least an hour before your session (2 hours if it’s a big meal) so you’re energized, not lethargic, going into your Pilates class.
• Green salad with grilled chicken, avocado, nuts and seeds
• Wrap with grilled chicken, ground beef, fish, or healthy protein and greens
• Broiled salmon, broccoli, greens with sauce of your choosing if it is relatively low in sugar and sodium
• Slow-cooker pulled pork or chicken with veggies
What about a small snack less than 1-hour before Pilates Class?
Small snack are appropriate and encouraged before class, particularly if you have not head a healthy meal within 2-3 hours before class.
• Apple and almond butter or peanut butter
• Hard-boiled egg
• Small handful of nuts
• Hummus with veggies
Avoid: Dairy and coffee less than one hour prior as this often causes Acid Reflux something very unpleasant during Pilates Session!