To get the most out of your workout, you need to eat right foods before you start working out. It’s really essential that your body has the required energy to endure you during a workout.
Should You Eat Before You Workout?
Heading to the gym or doing strenuous exercises without having pre workout snack is not the right way. When you workout, it’s crucial that you are energized. Eating before working out fulfills your energy needs and maximize your efforts and results. A good pre workout meal will fuel you correctly, so you can workout harder. Eating before workout will also avert low blood sugar, which can otherwise lead to light-headedness and fatigue.
Just Fitness Tip: Whether to have a pre workout snack depends on the type of workout you are going to do. In case of a brisk walk or light jogging, you don’t require it. Just drink some water before heading for a brisk walk or light jogging. For more intense exercise, choose easy-to-digest carbohydrates (a banana, 1/4th cup of a mix-trail, a cup of fruit cocktail, a packet of instant grits or 1/2 plain bagel with a glass of water) to supply you with the required fuel during workout.
Best Foods To Eat Before A Workout
What you eat can make your next workout healthier, whether you are a beginner or already in training. But it’s not as simple that you grab any snack or food before you head out for a run. In this article you will find good foods to eat before working out, which foods to avoid, and importantly when should you eat?
Caution: Eating too close to exercise is a recipe for discomfort.
1. Bananas – Best Pre Workout Food: They are nature’s power bar. Bananas are chock-full of fast-acting carbohydrates (read: ready fuel) that will supply you with ready-fuel during your exercise-schedule, and are rich source of potassium, which helps in maintaining muscles and nerve function. As your body can not store potassium for long, thus a medium banana before a workout is the right choice.
Just Fitness Tip: It is best food to eat before workout for the people who prefer to workout first thing in the morning and habitually skip eating before they start. It’s recommended for such people that when they get up in the morning they should eat a medium banana with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt / or plain curd and wait for 30 minutes before they hit the gym. This pre workout snack will provide them with the much needed carbohydrates and protein.
Alternatively, you can have a whole-wheat bread slice with sliced banana and cinnamon (optional). This combo will supply you both types of carbs that are easy to digest. Whereas, complex carbs will keep your body motor buzzing, the banana adds an extra thrust of energy, so that the supply of energy during your workout remains slow and steady. The bonus point is that the banana’s potassium will maintain the potassium level, which otherwise drops when you sweat a lot. On the other hand, the pinch of cinnamon keeps blood sugar levels stabilized and improves brain function.
2. Oats: They are packed with fiber (but they are not so chock-full with fiber that they will cause gas), which means they facilitates a gradual release of carbohydrates into your blood stream, and thus keeps your energy levels consistent throughout the workout. Oats contain B vitamins that facilitate to transform carbs into energy. Eat 1 cup at least 30 minutes before you start working out.
Just Fitness Tip: Mix in fruit to your bowl of oats to make a good pre workout snack, as the increased fluid content will keep you hydrated throughout during your workout.
3. Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is one of the best pre workout snacks. It contains almost two times of the protein that a normal yogurt has, but about half as much raw sugar as regular yogurt. This supplies you an immediate fuel (energy) and yogurt is easy on your stomach as well. A comparable high-protein alternative is cottage cheese.
You can have following variations with Greek yogurt. However, if you can’t find Greek yogurt, use instead plain, unflavored, unsweetened yogurt or curd.
(i) Fruit And Yogurt: This is a good combo for eating before a workout. Fruit is a rich source of carbohydrates and Greek yogurt is loaded with high-quality protein. You don’t need to skip foods that have high carbs as without carbs protein does not breakdown quickly to work as a fuel for a workout. The carbs from fruit break down quickly, thus protein is used afterwards to save your body from muscles damage. So this combo is a good pre workout snack, especially in the morning.
(ii) Greek Yogurt And Trail Mix For Eating Before A Workout: Do you love running? This is then meant for you. Yogurt is easy to digest, and in combination with trail-mix it revs up your body engine a little with energy. Take care to select a mix that is mostly nut and dried fruit based, with no or less of fillers. Whereas the natural sugar from dried fruit supplies a fast energy boost, the nuts and seeds will protect your insulin levels from falling mid-workout. But don’t eat too much of seeds and nuts before workout as they are high in fat that take longer to digest – meaning that you may start feeling sluggish and slow during workout.
(iii) Greek Yogurt Smoothie: This is a good choice for those who are looking for a snack before heading to gym. A smoothie is not only time-friendly, but you can blend it with a sliced fruit of your own choice, along with a cup of Greek yogurt and if you like a thicker consistency, add in some granola as well. And if you are picking one up while heading to the gym, read the label to ensure it’s made using whey or milk-based proteins.
Just Fitness Tip: If Greek yogurt is not available, you can use plain, unsweetened, unflavored yogurt or curd.
4. Chickpeas – An Easy Pre Work Out Snack: Simply eat 1/4th to 1/3rd cup of boiled chickpeas, seasoned with some freshly squeezed lemon juice to appease your taste buds. Just 1/4th cup of chickpeas will provide you with about 10 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 grams of fiber. Is it not a good pre workout meal?
5. Whole Grains Bread: It is loaded with carbs and fiber, providing slow-release, sustained energy throughout the duration of a workout. Bonus point is that you can pair it with flexible partners. Topping it off with organic honey or jam will provide you with fast acting simple carbs or if you prefer high-quality protein then top it off with sliced hard-boiled eggs. And if you are heading to the gym during your lunch break, top it up with a couple of turkey slices. Normally, at this time of the day, 30 grams of carbs and about 15-20 grams of protein can be enough.
6. Dried Fruit: What to eat if you only have a few minutes prior to your workout? Dried fruit is the best food before work out for this purpose as it’s so light that the simple carbs will supply you with immediate energy without making you feel sluggish. Our recommendation is to go for 1/4th cup of dried berries, apricots and pineapple.
7. Pre Workout Snacks After Lunch Or Dinner: If you are working out after lunch or dinner, what you need is a pre workout snack that settles down well, supply you with sufficient useable fuel with a minimal fat. Go for chicken breast or tofu with brown rice. Brown rice contains complex carbs to provide your body with sustained energy-release and the chicken or tofu will provide high-quality protein to repair your muscles after workout. If you like, you can replace brown rice with other whole grains, quinoa, sweet potatoes or other starchy vegetables.
8. Egg Whites: The egg yolk is chock-full of fat so metabolize at a snail’s pace and thus tends to make you feel bloated and sluggish during exercise. We recommend egg whites as they are loaded with quality protein. A single egg white offers about 4 grams of protein without any fat.
Foods To Avoid Before Working Out
Make sure to avoid these foods before working out:
(i) Fatty Foods: Fat exits your stomach very slowly, meaning you will feel full and sluggish for long. Although carbs are needed, but it’s not a good idea to take them from raw sugar or candy. Either of these foods will bring a sugar rush during mid-workout, which can make you uncomfortable.
(ii) Rich Foods: They definitely take longer to digest and tend to make you feel sluggish and slow.
(iii) Never Overeat Before Workout:. What you need is pre workout snacks and not meals. Eating too much can result into indigestion, sluggishness, nausea and vomiting.
(iv) Fried Foods: Keep away from the fried foods (including french-fries), greasy burgers, and soft drinks.
Just Fitness Tips:
(i) Your pre workout meal / snack should provide you with moderate amounts of quality carbs and lean-protein, low heart-healthy fats and fiber, and fluids.
(a) Your muscles need carbs such as whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits or vegetables for fast energy.
(b) Proteins are needed for muscles repair and blood cells that carry nutrients and oxygen to the muscles.
(c) Your body also requires fluids to perform its best. Water works as your body’s cooling system so as to keep you well hydrated. Water as a fluid is normally a good choice. However, if you have to workout hard for more than an hour in hot, humid environment then you may opt for a sport-drink as it provides you with carbs, sodium along with fluids. Sport-drinks are also a good option for those who play hard games such as soccer or football, especially in hot and humid weather.