It’s important that we eat before a standard 45 minute or hour-long workout — lifting weights, running, cycling, swimming - you need to make sure you have a combination of carbs and protein to provide a steady stream of energy during strenuous exercise and the nutrients to repair and build muscle.
Here are 11 of the best and easiest foods to prepare that nutritionists and personal trainers recommend eating before you workout.
Bananas are very rich in fast-acting carbohydrates that will provide you with usable fuel for a workout, and the supply of potassium aids in maintaining muscle and nerve function.
To people who like to work out first thing in the morning and typically skip eating before… Please have a banana! Eat a banana before you workout and then eat your breakfast within a half hour after working out to provide essential protein for muscle building and repair.
Oats are packed with fiber, which facilitates a steady release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream, and therefore a steady energy supply throughout your workout, according to studies.
If old-school oatmeal isn’t really your jam, you can add fresh fruit and even nuts (we like walnuts) for better flavor and even more nutrition.
Caffeine has been shown to help regular coffee drinkers enjoy a workout more by generating extra energy, as well as to slow fatigue and increase the rate of fat-burn.
If you are feeling sluggish (and you’re a coffee drinker) add a shot or two of of espresso to your pre-workout shake in the morning to really pump yourself up.
Fruit smoothies are an awesome pre-workout snack because they have high-quality protein, can be rapidly digested, and have the key combination of simple and complex carbohydrates. The simple carbohydrates will hit for the first 15 to 20 minutes, while the complex finally kick in around the half-hour mark. Together, these provide a steady stream of energy throughout your standard workout.
This is an incredibly easy pre-workout snack with no cooking involved whatsoever. Just eat 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of chickpeas, seasoned with some lemon juice for taste. A quarter cup alone will give you about 10 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs, and almost 9 grams of fiber.
The fat in egg yolks is metabolized slowly and therefore is likely to make you feel bloated and sluggish during your workout, so egg whites are a much better pre-workout option. A single egg white provides around 4 grams of protein and no fat.
This is a great option if you only have a few minutes before your workout because it’s so light, so the simple carbs will provide you instant energy without weighing you down. A few recommendations for dried fruits to eat are dried berries, apricots, and pineapple. Shoot for around a quarter cup.
Whole grains — like quinoa and brown rice — are packed with fiber, providing slow-release, sustained energy throughout the duration of a workout.
Topping it off with some jam will provide you with fast-acting simple carbohydrates. Or, for a real tasty treat you can add Greek yogurt, pistachios, and honey.
If you are working out after lunch or dinner, you want to eat something that will digest well, provide you with a good deal of usable fuel, and have minimal fat. The complex carbohydrates in brown rice help sustain energy production while chicken or tofu will provide protein for muscle repair after your workout. If you prefer, you can substitute brown rice with sweet potatoes, quinoa, or other whole grains or starchy vegetables.
You definitely should avoid rich foods that will take longer to digest and likely make you uncomfortable while exercising.
Greek yogurt contains almost double the protein as normal yogurt but about half as much raw sugar as regular yogurt. Provided you aren’t lactose-intolerant, this should provide an energy boost that’s easy on the stomach.
A comparable high-protein dairy option is cottage cheese.
The Peruvian root maca has been growing in popularity as a natural supplement that has been seen to increase energy and stamina, among many other health benefits. Many South American soccer players eat maca before games to aid peak performance, according to reports.
Maca can be bought at Whole Foods or online, and is great as an addition to anything from smoothies to yogurt.
For people trying to tone and lose belly fat, there is a myth that by not eating, they are going to go into further deficit and lose even more fat. In reality, their bodies will most likely shut down and then they’ll not lose anything.