Have you ever hit the wall? I don’t mean running into an actual wall, like George of the Jungle, but I’m talking about that time when your blood sugar drops to incredible lows, and you feel as if you can’t move at all. All you can think about is eating something, anything. This hits many people when they do long distance conditioning, like marathon running. Hitting the wall is so incredibly painful and frustrating that many athletes go to great lengths to avoid it.

However, it doesn’t just happen to professionals. Even part time exercisers can experience a painful drop in blood sugar. It all boils down to proper eating habits. In this article, you’ll learn some common sense eating habits that will keep your exercises strong and efficient.

If you don’t eat something before you workout, you run the risk of hitting the wall. How long you eat before you workout depends on what you eat, and how long you are planning on working out. Eating or drinking some kind of slow burning carbohydrate meal is essential before doing any cardio. The longer you are planning to work out, the more you should take before you exercise.

Any kind of food that contains slow burning carbs is perfect for a pre workout meal. Slow burning carbs are foods that contain complex carbohydrates, such as granola, oatmeal, or wheat pasta. These take a long time to break down, so they’ll give you more long lasting energy. Fast burning carbs like soda, bread, and even some sports drinks will give you a quick rush, you could bottom out quickly.

When you finish working out, you are going to need to eat to replenish what you’ve burned. But the mix should be more toward protein than carbohydrates. Whenever you workout, you wear out your muscles, and your body needs protein to repair them. So eating a meal high in protein, within a couple hours after working out, is optimal.

If you aren’t going to be eating any time soon after you workout, then eat something with some slow burning carbs that will be able to help you last until your next meal. Granola bars, or even a protein shake can be a an excellent post workout snack.

If you are only working out for an hour or less, then you shouldn’t worry about eating while you are working out. But if you are going to be exercising longer than that, then you should take something every hour or thirty minutes. There are plenty of energy bars that were designed specifically for this purpose.

The more water you drink, the better. Especially while you are working out, you should be drinking as much water as possible. When you exercise, you lose water both through perspiration and through the process that converts glucose to energy. So drinking as much water as you can while exercising is essential.

When you follow these tips, you can avoid that horrible drop in blood sugar. Just eat some carbs before you work out, eat some protein afterwards, and drink plenty of water in between.