Eating before your workout is the best way to have energy when it finally comes time to hit the gym. You want to eat pre-workout foods that will give you the right balance of energy, protein, and electrolytes, but not foods that will sit in your stomach. If you’re getting ready to hit the gym, here are some of the best pre-workout foods to eat:
Bananas are probably one of the best quick snacks to eat before a workout, as they’re loaded with potassium–one of the two electrolytes your body needs for proper muscle function. A banana gives you about 100 calories of easy-use energy, and you’ll find that it digests fairly quickly. Mix it with a bit of yoghurt, and you’ve got a high protein, high energy snack that will get you ready for that heavy training session!
Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread is an excellent snack to eat before your workout. It’s loaded with healthy fiber, plus a lot of minerals and vitamins that will help you get through your workout. The calories in the whole grain bread are easily digested, making it a quick source of energy for your body. Add a bit of jam (sugar) or eggs (protein) to top the bread, and you’ve got all the energy you need to get through an intense workout.
There are few foods in the world as healthy as oats, thanks to the fact that they contain carbs, fiber, protein, and even a bit of fat. Oats are one of those foods you will no doubt be eating A LOT of, but you may want to consider eating a bit before your workout.
The fiber in the oats may cause you gas or bloating if you eat too much, so stick with no more than a cup anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes before your workout. Eat it with yoghurt or milk for an extra protein boost, and throw in a few raisins to give your body an extra dose of energy.
The great thing about fruit smoothies is that they’re usually so easy for your body to digest, so there’s little risk of indigestion when it comes time to work out. You want to stick with just one 8-ounce cup of the stuff, as too much can give you a stomachache when on the treadmill. Mix yoghurt with fruit/fruit juice, and you’ll give yourself a quick source of energy (the natural sugars in the fruit), a slower-acting source of energy (the fat in the yoghurt), and the protein you need to build muscle (from the yoghurt). All in all, it’s a balanced treat that will be wonderful for pre-workout nutrition!
What NOT to Eat
Resist the temptation to snack on something sugary or high in fat. You may be thinking, “But sugar and fat are both good energy sources. Sugar provides short term energy, while fat provides long term energy.” That is true, but the sugar and fats found in processed foods, candies, and chocolates will NOT do your body any favors during your workouts.
Fat takes a LONG time to digest, so it may still be in your stomach when it comes time for you to work out. It may leave you feeling sluggish and lazy, and it may lead to stomach cramps. Plus, the sugar in the candy/chocolate bars will give you a sugar rush, but that will inevitably lead to a sugar crash–leaving you feeling tired and drained once more. Fight that urge to have a Snickers bar or M&Ms before you hit the gym, and you’ll make it through your workout much more easily!