Nutrition

Pre Workout Foods — What to Eat, When to Eat, And Why

Pre Workout Foods

Did you know pre-workout food might be the key to your peak performance? Eating nourishing food before exercising improves workout performance. And also allows you to exercise for longer time periods and at a higher intensity. 

When you don’t eat, you may feel lethargic or dizzy during your workout. And if you are regular at your exercise sessions, you know how demotivating that can be!

But you can’t just consume any food. According to your body, your fitness goals, and your exercise goals, the right pre workout food will vary. You also need to ensure that you eat it at the correct time so as to take full advantage of the regime.

Fortunately for you, we are discussing answers to all these questions and more in this article today. So stay tuned till the end!

10 Best Pre Workout Foods & Drinks For You

Not all workouts are the same! Not all fitness goals can be achieved with the same pre workout diets. And not all of us have the same body type to work with these foods.

Therefore, you need to choose the right pre-workout food for yourself with utter care. Check out the following list of foods to make that decision.

1) Bananas:

A banana is high in simple carbohydrates, natural sugars, and, most importantly, potassium. This electrolyte aids in the prevention of muscle cramps and is lost through sweat. 

Being a source of simple carbs, they digest fast. Therefore, bananas before workout are suitable when you don’t have much time (>30 mins) before your exercise.

2) Oatmeal: 

Oatmeal before workout can be highly beneficial. Its complex carbs break down slowly in your system, giving you more energy for longer. Add a scoop of protein powder to your oatmeal to boost the nutritional value. It’s a great pre workout food when you have an hour or two before your workout begins.

3) Nuts and Seeds: 

Walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, among other great nuts and seeds, are the go-to for many fitness specialists. 

They are slow-digesting foods. And they work remarkably for exercises like running, brisk morning walks, cycling, and swimming. That’s because they help maintain constant energy during the whole workout.

4) Eggs: 

When eaten one hour before your exercise, eggs — whether soft-boiled or scrambled – are an excellent pre-workout snack. 

They’re high in protein and contain all eight essential amino acids if you include the yolk. This makes Eggs help you gain muscle and restore muscle fibers before your next workout. 

Keep away from hard-boiled eggs, though! Those are too taxing on the stomach and digestive system.

5) Blueberries: 

Sugar of the appropriate kind can help you perform better in the gym. And chocolate won’t do. A bunch of blueberries, though, would make a delightful pre-workout snack. That’s because these fruits are a source of complex carbs which provide long-lasting energy to keep up the stamina

Blueberries are also known to promote brain function. They’ll improve your focus, which is ideal for being in the zone while exercising.

6) Greek Yogurt:

Greek yogurt is high in protein. While protein stores aren’t as vital for an aerobic activity like running, they are essential for strength training. 

Greek yogurt also contains minerals and nutrients such as calcium. These help improve your performance at the gym by preventing dehydration.

7) Peanut Butter:

Peanut butter is high in fat, which your body needs to burn as fuel during exercise (particularly endurance workouts like swimming). 

But because fat takes a long time to digest, you should eat peanut butter only a couple of hours before you begin your workout. Also, due to its high-calorie content, peanut butter is one of the incredible ways to gain muscle.

8) Energy Drinks: 

Pre-workout energy drinks help with instant energy. They have ingredients like caffeine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, glutamine, and B-vitamins. 

Drinking them helps decrease your muscular fatigue. They also increase focus (to keep going with an intense workout) and aid in muscle gain, thanks to the amino acids.

9) Chicken and Rice: 

People who exercise late at night or in the evening can enjoy two pieces of grilled chicken with a side of rice or potatoes during lunch. 

Here, chicken is a superb source of protein. And brown rice or potatoes are good sources of necessary carbs that help you keep up the energy throughout the workout.

10) Smoothies: 

Fruits are high in natural sugars, so it would be a waste not to use them when you need quick-acting sugars for strenuous workouts. Therefore, a fruit smoothie is an excellent meal to have before a workout. 

You can add some protein powder to boost its nutritional value.

What’s the Best Time to Eat Before Workout?

Try to consume a full meal 2–3 hours before your workout. When we say full meal, we mean one that’s balanced with an ideal amount of fats, carbs, and protein.

What if you don’t have 2 to 3 hours to spare? That’s usually if you work out early in the mornings. You may not have more than an hour!

In that case, choose light meals as pre-workout food in the morning. They should have simpler carbs and a little protein. These will digest fast and give you the desired energy for the gym session.

But what to eat 30 minutes before workout? If you only have about 30 minutes to spare, eat little snacks like a banana, toast, Greek yogurt, or drink a can of energy drink.

But a light pre workout snack will only be able to give you so much energy. 

Try to have enough time in the morning to enjoy a full meal by getting up early. Or you can try working out around noon or evenings after you have had a complete balanced meal 2 to 3 hours prior.

The gap is essential because exercising on a full stomach is not ideal.

3 Benefits of Eating Food Before Workout

The ultimate benefit of having pre workout food is that it fulfills the body’s requirements. After all, the body needs energy before it can spend energy during your exercise. Food is fuel.

Apart from that, eating pre-workout foods at the right time have the following perks:

1) Better Performance

Your body transforms glycogen into glucose while you work out. This is essential for muscle contraction.

And the right workout foods have carbs which help to avoid running out of glycogen.

A proper meal will also have a good load of essential electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium. 

These will help prevent dehydration. Otherwise, its symptoms like dehydration headaches, dry mouth, and dizziness that may distract you from your workout.

2) Less Fatigue

Your energy levels drop while you exercise, and your muscles can become weary. When your pre-workout diet includes the correct nutrients, though, you’re providing your body with the fuel it requires to keep you upright. 

That helps in reaching optimum performance and also to focus on the workout rather than your sore or tired muscles.

In short, when your body has the energy to burn, you can make every bit of your workout count and avoid getting exhausted too quickly.

3) Reduced Muscle Protein Decomposition

You want to make sure that you’re not only gaining muscle but that you’re keeping it. For that the protein synthesis from food must equal or surpass protein breakdown in your muscles.

So make sure to have BCAAs via a pre-workout diet that includes dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein. 

When you have BCAAs, you can prevent muscle (protein) breakdown for energy by filling your muscular stores with protein.

Conclusion

Now you know the benefits of having pre-workout foods. We also shared a bunch of meal options with you to choose from – be it workout food for muscle gain or endurance training.

Make sure to keep an eye on the clock, though. Pay attention to how the time you consume pre workout meals has an impact on you. Perhaps you’re a 30-minutes-till-the-treadmill kind of eater. Or additional digestion time makes your stomach feel better.

Experiment with different food combinations and timing to find your favorite pre-workout meal.

And don’t forget to share this article with your workout buddies!

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