Scheduling exercise into a busy lifestyle can be a challenge, and planning meals and snacks around the exercise is another. Eating too much food, or the wrong food before exercise, can hamper your performance or cause indigestion, sluggishness, nausea and vomiting. On the other hand, if you haven't eaten in six hours and try to work out, you may feel weak and unmotivated. The type and time of meal is important. A large breakfast may be troublesome if you are going for a morning run, but it is fine for a jog before lunch.
In terms of food, your goal should be to have fuel in your body from nutritious food that is no longer present in your stomach at the time of your workout. The pre-exercise food prevents hunger during exercise. Carbohydrates are easily digested, but foods high in protein and fat may linger in the stomach for some time, depending on how much you ate. Large meals can take up to six hours to empty from the stomach.
Snacks, depending on their content, take about an hour to leave your stomach. Eating a high-carbohydrate snack two hours before exercising can leave you ample energy and a calm stomach for a great workout. Many athletes avoid food within two hours of a very hard workout, but can tolerate a lighter snack within one to two hours of a light workout.