We all want nothing less than the best results when we work out. Health goals range from weight reduction and inch loss to better stamina and muscle strength. Whatever your goal, it’s important that your body is fuelled well before you begin your next training session.
A fueled body will help you train longer, and harder and even help to delay fatigue and boost recovery.
Eating the right foods before a workout will help you get maximum results out of your training, and keep your mood and stamina up and running.
What To Eat Before A Workout
Every meal is primarily made up of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each of these nutrients plays an important role in health when consumed in the right proportions.
As a rule, a meal rich in fats is not a good idea before a workout. Though fats are high in energy, they digest slowly and can make you feel heavy and lethargic during a workout.
A protein-rich meal, on the other hand, could mean better muscle health. Proteins are the building blocks and repair fabric for muscles. They can help you recover faster post-workout.
However, proteins are unable to provide you with the energy needed to train.
That’s where carbohydrates come in. Carbs are of 2 types: simple and complex. Simple carbs are those that give your body an instant burst of energy in the form of glucose to help you train.
Complex carbs on the hand, release glucose in a slower, sustained, and steadier manner, helping you train for a longer amount of time.
When To Eat Before A Workout
A pre-workout can be had anywhere between 15 to 120 minutes of your workout, and this depends on the type of meal you have. Here are some simple guidelines to follow for which pre-workout meal is best for you:
- 15-30 minutes before workout: Light meals containing simple carbs and some protein
- 30-60 minutes before workout: Meals containing a mix of simple and complex carbs, and some protein
- 60-120 minutes before workout: Meals containing a combination of complex carbs, protein, and some fat
My Top 7 Pre-Workout Meals
Here are 7 meals that function as great pre-workouts. Feel free to experiment with them and decide what works best for you.
1. Plain Fruit
Best time: 15-30 minutes before the workout
Packed with simple carbs, fruit is the best way to kickstart your energies if you are training within the next half hour. A banana or apple works best here. Plus, micronutrients like potassium and magnesium help support nerve-to-muscle connection so that reflexes are strong and quick.
2. Trail Mix
Best time: 15-30 minutes before working out
Another on-the-fly pre-workout snack is a ready mix of nuts, dried fruit, and seeds. Rich in simple carbs, fiber, protein, and good fat, they provide a calorie-dense meal.
Trail mix can be prepared at home or store-bought. If you decide to use packaged trail mix, avoid those containing additives like chocolate or sugars.
3. Greek Yogurt & Granola
Best time: 30 minutes before workout
This is a classic carb & protein combination, especially if you pair this with fruit. While fruit gives instant energy, granola has complex carbs for steady fuel. Greek yogurt is high in protein and helps prevent muscle breakdown.
4. Fruit Smoothie
Best time: 30-60 minutes before workout
Fruit smoothies are high in calories and simple carbs and serve as great pre-workout meals. A classic combination would be bananas with milk or yogurt, some nuts and seeds.
But if you are a strict weight-watcher, you can switch regular milk with almond milk and bananas with berries. You can even add a protein powder to round off the meal.
5. Oats Porridge
Best time: 30-60 minutes before workout
Oats are the perfect breakfast for anyone working out mid-morning. Oats with milk and nuts are high in complex carbs, protein, and good fat. You feel fuller without the heaviness and go into your workout with high energy.
6. Grilled Protein & Rice
Best time: 60-120 minutes before workout
Go in for a typical meal if you plan to keep a substantial gap between eating and working out. A protein (chicken, fish, cottage cheese, or tofu) with rice and veggies will give slow-release energy and help muscle recovery during workouts.
7. Pre-Workout Supplements
Pre-workout supplements help you train harder and for longer. You should consider taking one if you are a serious trainer or athlete. Pre-workouts put together measured doses of ingredients like caffeine, creatine, citrulline, beta-alanine, etc. that support better energy and performance. Depending on your needs you can select from a variety of pre-workout supplements like the best stim-free pre-workout or thermogenic pre-workout.
A pre-workout meal goes a long way in ensuring that you are 100% invested in your workout. An effective pre-workout will keep you motivated, and you have the liberty to try out any of the above tasty and healthy pre-workout options for a fitter you.
This post was contributed by Healthy and Khush, a blog dedicated to sharing science-based tips and hacks that will help you lose weight and keep it off.