Eating the right foods before a workout is an important step in making sure you have the best results during your time at the gym. The foods you choose to consume is just as important as eating pre-workout. The timing of meals can affect energy levels during exercise.
Pre-Workout Nutrition Facts
A good pre-workout meal plan should incorporate protein rich foods with carbohydrates. Of course, carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy. These macro-nutrients can be further broken down into two groups – complex carbs and simple sugars. The type of carbs to eat before an exercise session largely depends on the timing of a meal. Generally, food sources with simple sugars digest quickly and provide the body with fast acting glucose. For this reason, they make good snacks, which you can eat 30 minutes to an hour before exercise. Proteins consumed pre-workout help to prevent muscle catabolism during the exercise session. Although high in calories, fats should be avoided before workouts since they metabolize slowly. In fact, they can leave you feeling sluggish and heavy.
Top 5 Pre-Workout Foods
Here are my families top 5 favorite pre- workout foods.
- Chicken, Brown Rice and Leafy Greens: This dish will fully nourish your body if taken 3-hours before you hit the gym, running track or aerobics class. A meal like this will provide you with low-fat protein from the lean chicken to promote muscle anabolism as well as a slow release of energy from leafy greens and the brown rice.
- Eggs: Eggs are great pre-workout foods for bodybuilders. Whether you like them fried, scrambled or boiled, they are rich in protein. As a result, eggs supply the body with branched chain amino acids, which prevent muscle breakdown in case glycogen reserves run out as you exercise. What’s more, you can control the fat and cholesterol content by removing the egg yolk. Eggs should be consumed 2-3 hours before your workouts to ensure ample digestion time.
- Apples: Sometimes it can be hard to find time for whooping up a meal or even wholesome snack before heading out to the gym or running trail. In such cases, a quick dose of carbohydrates is your best bet to invigorate the body before the workout. Apples are healthy energizing foods that will boost your glucose levels when consumed even 30-40 minutes before a workout.
- Wholegrain Bread: Adding whole-grain bread to your pre-workout diet is highly recommended if you engage in endurance training activities like running, cycling or swimming. When consumed 2-3 hours pre-workout, whole-grain bread will help your body to increase glycogen reserves and provide a slow release of energy to fuel you throughout the exercise session.
- Greek Yogurt and Dried Fruit: Dried fruits and yogurt can be consumed 1-1.5 hours before exercise to provide the body with a quick source of simple sugars and protein. For the best results, opt for low-fat, Greek yogurt, which tends to have the highest protein content. I sometimes workout in the mornings so having a bowl of Greek yogurt and berries is the perfect breakfast in the morning to eat before the gym.
Remember to drink enough water before your workouts to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and loss of coordination, which may increase the risk of injuries during exercise. Try drinking 16-24 ounces of water an hour before workouts and at least 7-10-ounces every 20-30 minutes of exercise.