If you want to get the most from your workout, it’s a well-known fact that you need to eat beforehand. You should never exercise on an empty stomach. But why is this? Well, think of your body as a car. As much as a car can’t function on an empty tak, your body won’t get the most out of your workout if you don’t fuel it beforehand. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should eat a full English with a side of hash browns before every Pilates class. That will definitely set you back a few steps. Instead, before a workout, whether it be a weight-lifting, cardio or more relaxed yoga session, you should always have foods to eat before your workout that will release energy slowly and help your muscles prepare for and recover from your gym session. This way you will be able to perform and exercise at your best, ensuring that you make the most from every workout session and you will see results quicker, which is always a plus. So, if this is what you are striving for, here are the 10 best foods to eat before your workout that will help you reach all your gym-related goals much quicker.
Bananas are one of the best foods to eat before your workout. They help you get your daily source of natural sugars, simple carbs and potassium while stimulating the production of dopamine in the brain (in short, dopamine helps to counteract the negative effects that aerobic respiration has on the money during exercise). A pre-workout banana is perfect pre-workout fuel for your body as it will help to boost your glycogen stores and increase your blood sugar levels so that you will have more energy for your workout session.
Consuming complex carbohydrates 2-3 hours before a workout is perfect as they can provide your body with a slow-releasing source of energy, meaning that you can exercise for longer and will be less likely to crash halfway into your session. A great source of complex carbs is porridge which, as well as being a great slow-releasing source of energy, is also full of beta-glucan (a soluble fibre). So having a bowl of porridge 2-3 hours before your workout is sure to keep your hunger at bay whilst providing you with the right amount of energy to keep you pushing on that treadmill!
3.Chicken and Rice
If you are more of an evening exerciser, consider having a protein and complex carb-rich dinner before your workout which will provide you with a great source of slow-releasing energy as well as the amino acids you need to aid muscle repair and growth. A shining example of this is chicken and brown rice, which will provide you with the perfect balance of carbs and protein to ensure that you get the most out of your workout. To get maximum benefits from this meal, consume it 2-3 hours before your workout.
As well as being full of vitamins and nutrients from the fruit they contain, smoothies are also a great source of natural sugars such as fructose which are key for a pre-workout snack. This means that smoothies are a great source of energy and fast-acting glucose, so will be your best mate in helping you through those strenuous body pump classes.
5.Wholegrain Bread or Brown Rice
As previously stated, complex carbohydrates are the ideal fuel for a workout as they release energy slowly and will keep you going in the gym for longer without crashing. Whole grain bread or brown rice are the perfect example of this and are great to eat before exercising to get in your daily dose of complex carbs. Even better, pair either of these foods with a protein-rich food to create the ultimate pre-workout snack that will provide you with energy as well as the amino acids needed for anabolism. For example, a portion of scrambled eggs on wholegrain bread is a great pre-workout snack.
Now, this is kind of an obvious one. However, while most people think of protein shakes only being beneficial as a post-workout snack, they also have many benefits as one of the foods to eat before your workout. For example, drinking a protein shake before a workout can help you to build muscle quicker as the extra amino acids are necessary for muscle repair and growth, so they also massively aid muscle healing. Protein shakes also contain complex carbohydrates, an important source of slow-releasing energy which are important in ensuring that you can put all that you have into your workout and really work yourself towards your fitness goals.
Eggs are a great thing to eat before a workout because egg whites are high in protein, therefore can provide the essential amino acids needed to encourage muscle growth and avoid muscle catabolism during a workout. Eggs are also very filling so won’t leave your tummy rumbling during your sumo squats.
Greek yoghurt, unlike regular yoghurt, is filled to the brim with protein and helps with satiety, building muscles and healing muscles. All these benefits are what make it an amazing pre-workout snack, but if you want to add an extra boost onto your workout, top your Greek yoghurt with dried fruits and nuts which will add an extra shot of sugar and calories to keep you exercising for longer.
While dried fruit is full of sugar, they are also full of digestible carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants and fibre. But what makes them a great pre-workout snack is that they are a quick and easy source of energy and will provide you with energy almost instantaneously, making them a great quick snack to take with you to the gym in case your sugar levels fall.
One of the much underrated savoury foods to eat before your workout are chickpeas. Chickpeas are a great source of carbohydrates, protein and fibre, therefore they will provide you with enough energy for your workout as well as the sufficient amino acids needed to aid your muscle during exercise.