A Complete Guide to Pre-Workout Foods
Eating the right foods before workouts enhances your performance and maximizes your gains. This concept goes against the widely circulated myth that pre-workout fasting will drive your body to burn more calories during the workout. Starving yourself before exercising could be detrimental to your health. With this in mind, it is necessary to consume a healthy meal or snack 45 minutes to 1 hour before the training session.
There is no ideal meal that you need to eat before working out. Instead, ensure that you incorporate these nutrients in the foods you chose to eat.
#1: Lean Proteins
Their role in muscle building and maintenance is to decrease and reduce the muscle breakdown that occurs during your workout. They also provide the essential amino acids to jump-start muscle growth and repair, so you recover quickly after a workout. Some proteins such as whey protein are known to contain leucine, an amino acid that stimulates the rate of muscle protein synthesis. With this, it triggers muscle growth while promoting weight loss. The amino acid has to be obtained from dietary sources because the body does not produce it.
#2: Complex Carbohydrates
An intake of carbohydrates delays the onset of fatigue, and this is important as it determines the length and quality of your workout sessions. It also improves endurance during your workout so that you can increase the intensity of your training for better results. Carbs are able to achieve this because they are a source of glucose for the active muscles. Low glycemic carbs are preferred as they don’t cause irregular fluctuations in blood sugar level.
#3: Healthy Fats
A little healthy fat (about 5 grams) helps to generate energy during low and medium intensity workouts. The additional fuel provided by fats also promotes endurance. Examples of healthy fats include avocado oil, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and oil obtained from nuts.
#4: Drink Plenty of Liquids
Water acts as the body’s cooling system and keeps you from becoming dehydrated during exercise due to sweating. Pre-workout hydration prevents joint stiffness and facilitates transportation of glucose throughout the body. Water also acts as a lubricant for muscles and other vital body organs.
Here are 10 Examples of Healthy Pre-Workout Foods and Snacks
They are a great source of carbohydrates, potassium, and manganese and these help to prevent muscle cramps, facilitate wound healing, and increase endurance and bone strength. Eating a banana along with a cup of Greek yogurt will keep your nutrient levels high and provide optimal results from the workout.
Oatmeal is great because it contains essential fatty acids, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber. This makes it a complete pre-workout food that keeps you full while enabling your body to slowly release sugar into the bloodstream. Adding fruits (such as strawberries) to your bowl of oatmeal will increase the fluid content of the meal, and this will keep you hydrated throughout your training session.
#3: Bread with Peanut Butter and Jelly
The peanut butter will provide you with protein, and also the fat you need to boost your testosterone. The jelly and bread will give you sugars and complex carbohydrates that provide consistent energy for your entire workout session.
#4: Sprouts and Legumes
They form a healthy snack that is highly nutritious. They are rich in fibers, minerals, proteins, and vitamins K and C. They also contain complex carbohydrates that take longer to break down, so they will provide energy for a longer period of time and ensure you complete your workout.
#5: Fruit smoothies
They make an awesome pre-workout snack because they are easily digested and have high-quality protein. They also have a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates that provide a steady supply of energy for both high and low-intensity workouts. With them, you save time because they are easy to prepare. Use fruits with a high glycemic index such as mangoes, pineapples and watermelons.
#6: Fruit Salad with Quinoa and Avocados
Quinoa has been known to regulate insulin levels during workouts. Avocado will provide the body with healthy fats and prevent inflammation. Simple sugars found in the fruits will boost your energy levels.
#7: A Veggie Omelet
Eggs are a good source of protein, and they aid in muscle growth and recovery. The egg yolk is especially important as it increases the level of good cholesterol in the body thereby protecting the heart as you work out. Veggies have vitamins that are stocked with antioxidants and are good for the body. This meal will help your body replenish the body’s glycogen stores which is important for any workout.
#8: Chicken Breast and Brown Rice
Brown rice has complex carbohydrates that will help sustain energy production while the chicken provides necessary proteins for muscle repair. As a whole, this meal gives you a good deal of usable fuel while cutting down on fat. If need be, you can substitute brown rice with other whole grains of your choice.
#9: Apple Wedges with Almond Butter
Apples provide the body with much-needed pre-workout sugar. Spreading a tablespoon of almond butter on your apple slices has two added benefits. It keeps the hunger pangs away and raises your energy levels.
Taking caffeine before exercise enhances performance by delaying the onset of fatigue and increasing the rate at which the body burns fat. It also supplies energy to the muscles and improves mental alertness, keeping you focused on the activity. Caffeine is present in various drinks such as tea and chocolate. However, it is advisable to drink a pre-workout as it is more effective.
The size of a pre-workout meal largely depends on individual needs such as one’s body weight and the intended activities. However, a standard meal of between 400-500 calories is appropriate for the average person. Eating too much before a workout will water down your efforts and results. It can make you sluggish and will also cause discomfort during the exercise. For a boost of energy to power through your workout, look no further than a premium pre-workout supplement.