What does your workout routine consist of? Some people like to work out in the morning, others in the evening. Whatever time you choose, you must be providing your body with fuel for energy and recovery. Many factors go into creating the perfect workout. One essential element is what you eat before your workout. Some people suggest eating a high protein meal like eggs and bacon, while others prefer carbs or fat-rich foods like toast with peanut butter and a banana. My favorite pre-workout meal is a protein shake with banana, strawberries and almond milk; I find this satisfies my hunger and gives me sufficient energy without feeling weighed down or sluggish. What do you usually eat before working out? Does it make an impact on how your day goes?
A healthy balance of food groups will give you the energy to power through any type of workout. The best pre-workout meals are ones that provide energy, nutrients and hydration to the body. This will ensure that the muscles have all of the resources they need to perform optimally during a workout session. These foods should be low in fat, high in protein, and rich in carbs for an ideal pre-workout meal before any intense physical activity.
The post will be about what makes up a good pre-workout meal and why it is essential before doing any intense physical workout, be it your daily run or a grueling session in the gym.
The most crucial part of any good pre-workout meal should be protein. Protein provides amino acids which help repair muscle tissue and reduce inflammation, both key components of an intense workout routine. Next on our list would be carbohydrates. Carbs are vital because they replenish glycogen stores in muscles as well as provide glucose for brain function. Finally, we need healthy fats such as omega 3s or monounsaturated fat which help regulate blood sugar levels.
Based on this, here is a list of some pre-workout snacks:
Holy grail pre-workout snacks.
1. Protein shake
All of us know that protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. Depending upon your weight and goals, you need to consume a certain amount of protein per day. But our general diet, the quantity that we consume, doesn’t contain that much amount of protein and hence, we need to rely on supplements. But that is what it is, a supplement it was never meant to replace the original food. So while you’re following a meal plan, it might be good to place the protein shake 30 minutes before and after a workout and see if it works for you.
2. A banana with almond butter or peanut butter
Banana is the ultimate food to help you power through your workout. They are filled with potassium, Vitamin C and antioxidants. Add to it the nut butter choices filled with healthy fats, protein, vitamins and fiber and you are good to go!
3. Greek yogurt with and granola
Try some homemade granola or granola bar (the ones in the market are often packed with sugar) with greek yogurt. The granola is filled with quick-burning carbs to fuel your workout and the greek yogurt has multiple benefits, such as double the protein compared to plain yogurt.
4. A smoothie made from protein powder, milk, frozen fruit (berries are best), and a teaspoon of vanilla extract
The benefits of this drink are multiple and a no-brainer.
5. A handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts) or seeds (sunflower seeds)
Nuts are full of healthy fats and they burn slowly through the workout. Nuts and seeds are full of beneficial nutrients ranging from Omega 3 to thiamine.
To wrap things up, one final tip if you are sticking to a snack, it is fine to have it 30 minutes prior to a workout. But if you are opting for a meal before a workout, make sure to wait at least 90 minutes.
And also, it is best to avoid refined sugars such as table sugar or honey, artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose, fruits that are high in fructose (such as apples), alcohol and carbonated beverages.
If you’re not hungry right before your workout, drink some water to ensure hydration levels are up because dehydration can adversely affect performance during exercise.
The parting gift
And do not forget that as important as a pre-workout meal is, just as important a post-workout meal is, so as a parting bonus, here are some tips on the same:
1. Post-workout, your muscles are depleted and you need to replenish your glycogen stores
2. A post-workout meal should be rich in protein and carbohydrates
3. Protein is the building block of muscle tissue – it’s important for repairing damaged muscle fibers
4. Carbohydrates provide energy for intense workouts
5. You can opt to eat anything as long as it meets these requirements!
6. Examples include a sandwich with turkey or chicken, an apple, and a banana; oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon; fruit salad made from bananas, grapes, applesauce (or any other fruit), yogurt mixed with honey; or even just plain old watermelon!
So, happy working out!! And we wish that you achieve whatever health goal that it is that you are working on.