Maximize your workout by not exercising on an empty stomach. For a standard hour-long workout — lifting, running, cycling, you need to make sure you have a combination of carbs and protein to provide a stream of energy during strenuous exercise and nutrients to repair muscle afterward.
For people trying to tone and lose fat, there is a myth that by not eating, they are going to go into further deficit and lose more fat. In reality, you bodies may shut down and not lose anything, which renders your workout a waste. So remember to eat something at least 45 minutes to an hour before your session so that you give your body ample time to digest. Here are a list of 10 foods you should eat before your workout that will help you maximize the time and effort.
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. If you are like some women who like to work out first thing in the morning and typically skip eating before, please just have a banana before, and then eat breakfast within a half hour at the least afterward to provide essential protein for muscle building and repair. You’ll definitely notice the difference in your workout.
Oats are packed with fiber, which facilitates a steady release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream, and therefore a steady energy supply throughout your workout. It is not just a morning breakfast food anymore. If old-school oatmeal isn’t really your thing, add it to your protein shake to pack on tons more fiber to your protein.
Caffeine has been shown to help regular drinkers enjoy a workout more by generating energy, as well as to slow fatigue and increase the rate of fat-burn. Add a couple shots of espresso to your pre-workout shake in the morning or afternoon to pump up.
4. Fruit Smoothies
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 a 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.
6. Egg Whites
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.
7. Dried Fruits
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.
8. Whole Grain Toasts
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.
9. Brown Rice and Chicken
If you are working out after lunch or dinner, you want to eat something that will sit 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/starchy vegetables. You definitely should avoid rich foods that will take longer to digest and likely make you uncomfortable while exercising.
10. Greek Yogurt
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.