Pre-workout nutrition is crucial for two reasons.
One, it prevents fitness enthusiasts and athletes from feeling sluggish and hungry before and during a workout.
Second, it maintains one’s optimal energy levels in the form of blood glucose used by the exercising muscles.
This does not mean, though, that one should exercise on a full stomach as it may cause nausea, indigestion, or even vomiting.
But what exactly are the appropriate foods one can eat before working out?
Everyone has different fitness needs, but you can follow these general guidelines on pre-workout nutrition before you hit the gym.
These foods are known to fuel your body up the correct way.
So, without further ado, here are top picks for what you should consume before a workout!
Top 8 Nutrition Before Gym Time
Include oats in your effective morning routine to maximize your performance as well as minimize muscle damage.
This is because oats are among the healthiest grains. They have a high content of dietary fibers and nutritional value. And when you are full of fiber before your workout, oats will help release carbohydrates gradually.
Because of the gradual release of carbohydrates, your energy levels will also stay consistent throughout your gym or at-home workout.
The inclusion of Vitamin B in oats is moreover proof of its muscle-boosting benefits, helping convert carbohydrates into energy.
Related: Here’s Why Overnight Oats Make The Perfect Breakfast!
2. Fruit Smoothies
The best pre-workout smoothies contain a mix of healthy carbs and protein.
Fruit smoothies make an ideal snack before an exercise because they are endlessly customizable, portable, and will give you an energy boost without feeling too full.
You can try peanut butter banana smoothie, creamy banana strawberry split smoothie, strawberry oatmeal breakfast smoothie, or apple vanilla smoothie.
You can also blend these smoothie ingredients every other day: apples, avocados, coconut oil, bananas, oats, nut butter, and milk.
To promote endurance and support you as you burn fat, you may create your own smoothie and combine it in a pre-workout fat burner.
3. Nonfat Greek Yogurt with Fruit
Greek and regular yogurts may be made from the same ingredients, but their difference lies in their nutrients.
Regular yogurt has more calcium and fewer calories, but Greek yogurt has less sugar and more protein. And proteins are the building blocks for repairing fiber damage and regenerating muscle tissue.
Combining Greek yogurt with fruit would be a great pairing. This is because you’ll get healthy carbohydrates from fruits and protein from Greek yogurt.
The carbs from fruits quickly break down in the body and can easily be used to fuel you during your workout.
Related: Kick-start Your Day with these 6 Delicious Smoothies
4. Boiled Eggs
Boiled eggs are one of the best pre-and post-workout snacks as they provide all the essential amino acids or building blocks of protein.
They are an effective food for building, maintaining, and repairing muscle.
A 2017 study even shows eggs contain protein of high bioavailability (how well the body uses protein) and quality.
Surely, you can’t go wrong with a simple serving of boiled eggs. And if you want to boost your energy levels as you work out, why not combine eggs with one slice of whole-wheat bread?
5. Baked Salmon, Roasted Veggies, and Brown Rice
Baked salmon is one of the best sources of vitamin B12 plus it contains protein, potassium, and other nutrients, like vitamin D and iron. But, its true beauty is that it is rich in omega-3-fatty acids.
During exercise, omega-3 fatty acids help increase the movement of oxygen into the skeletal muscle. And for further reference, a 100-gram or 3.5-ounce serving of salmon already contains 22 to 25 grams of protein.
Meanwhile, brown rice is a rich source of dietary fiber that can help you decrease body fat and increase muscle mass.
It also contains vitamins and minerals, including manganese, niacin, thiamin, selenium, and magnesium.
Eating a banana before your workout can help meet your daily needs for potassium, which prevents muscle cramps and promotes muscle function.
The potassium found in bananas will also support muscle contractions.
7. Chicken Thighs, Steamed Vegetables, and Rice
One of the best meals before gym time is a serving of chicken thighs, steamed vegetables, and rice. This is the classic blend of complex carbs and protein. Not only that, but the fiber in vegetables helps you with digestion.
But, you may wonder why choose chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts? Well, that’s actually your personal choice.
It’s just that dark meat contains more good fat that is important to keep you from getting “hungry” during your exercise routines.
Related: Top 10 Nutrition Tips from Fitness Experts
8. Apple with Raisins and Almond Butter
Raisins or other dried fruit are good sources of natural simple sugar.
The small amount of fiber in raisins and apples, combined with the monounsaturated fats in almond butter, will fill you up during a workout.
This pre-workout snack will also curb your hunger. This pre-workout snack is also cheap and easy to prepare.
The Timing of Your Pre-Workout Meal Also Matters
To maximize the results of your training, you should also consider the timing of your pre-workout meal. If you’re eating a complete meal that contains protein, fat, and carbs, it is best to exercise two to three hours after eating your meal.
On the other hand, if you plan to work out 45-60 minutes after a meal, it would be better to choose foods that are easy to digest.
A morning snack containing 15-75 grams of carbs is good to go. These foods include whole-grain crackers with cheese, toast with almond butter, figs with peanut butter, plant-based beverage or milk, a banana, and applesauce.
The Bottom Line
When thinking about workout nutrition, it’s easy to just focus on what you should drink or eat before the workout.
Yet, what you consume for the rest of the day is just as important as pre-exercise nutrition. That is why it is still best to maintain a healthy diet overall.
Please know that these pre-workout nutrition ideas are only guidelines. Everybody’s body still has different preferences and needs.
You may do diet tweaks once in a while, as long as it’s not during your game or competition if you’re an athlete.