What Should You Eat Before Working Out?

by Adrienne Snavely

You most likely have an exercise plan before getting started, and this should include a healthy snack or small meal. In order to perform at the top of your game, eating the right foods will provide enough energy for the entire workout and help your body recover afterwards. Not eating before a workout can result in low blood sugar, causing a light-headed feeling and fatigue.

Bananas – Complex carbohydrates are the best source of energy before working out. Bananas are “nature’s PowerBar”, loaded with digestible carbs and potassium to help prevent muscle cramps during exercise. Your body does not store potassium for very long, so a banana will keep levels high.

Oats with Berries – Oats are full of fiber, gradually releasing carbs into your bloodstream, keeping energy levels consistent during your workout. A bowl of steel-cut oats is loaded with carbs which will keep you full during the workout. Added berries provide antioxidants to fight workout-induced stress on the body.

Apple Slices and Peanut Butter – This is an all-star pick because it is easy and convenient to make, a good combo of protein and carbs.

Pistachios and Blueberries – This is a power-packed protein/carb combo. Blueberries are anti-inflammatory and may help muscles recover from exercise-induced damage.

Fruit Smoothies/Yogurt – Carbs from fruit break down quickly into fuel, and the protein in yogurt is used later to prevent muscle damage. Stay away from sugary additives like syrups and include some protein. The simple carbs will work for the first 15-20 minutes, while the complex carbs kick in after about 30 minutes.

Greek Yogurt – This has double the protein of normal yogurt with half the sugar. Cottage cheese is another high-protein dairy option.

Dried Fruit – These simple carbs will provide instant energy without weighing you down. Go for a quarter cup of dried berries, apricots, and pineapple.

Coffee and Milk – Caffeine slows fatigue and increases the fat burning rate, providing a kick. Including more milk than normal in your coffee will provide sustained energy.

Wholegrain Bread – Whole grains like quinoa and brown rice are full of fiber. Top it with jam, honey, turkey, or hard-boiled eggs for high-quality protein.

Chicken and Brown Rice – Eating before a workout later in the day should have a good deal of fuel with minimal fat. Brown rice sustains energy, and chicken provides protein for muscle repair. Substitute sweet potatoes or quinoa for the brown rice, if you prefer.

Chickpeas – No cooking is required! A handful of chickpeas can be seasoned with lemon juice and provide high levels of protein, carbs, and fiber.

Egg Whites – Yolks are metabolized slowly, so egg whites are a much better pre-workout option.

Maca – The Peruvian root maca is a natural supplement popular among South American soccer players to increase energy and stamina.

Avoid fatty foods before working out. Fat is processed slowly, making you feel full and sluggish, and could cramp up easily. Also stay away from raw sugar or candy which create a sugar rush that may crash in the middle of your workout. Don’t eat too much before exercising or you can get indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. Allow about 30 minutes after eating before starting your workout. Just remember to eat SOMETHING!
Strong, Debbie. “What Nutritionists Eat Before They Work Out.” Diet & Nutrition. EverydayHealth, 16 Nov 2015. Web. 17 Nov 2015.
“THE BEST PRE-WORKOUT FOODS.” Guy Food. Men’s Fitness. Web. 17 Nov 2015.
Franklin, Rob. “11 Of The Best Things To Eat Before A Workout.” Food. Buzzfeed, 27 Jul 2014. Web. 17 Nov 2015.

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