10 Best foods to eat before a workout
Working out is a great way to get into tip-top physical shape. But although you might be enjoying the improvements you’re seeing after each visit to the gym, you might not be maximising your workout to its true potential.
To really optimise each workout and get the best out of it, what you eat beforehand is essential. Many of us shift focus to our post-gym meals, but if you want to see vast improvements, it’s time to start concentrating on your pre-workout diet.
Whatever type of workout you’re doing – running, lifting or even cycling – it’s important that you have enough carbs and protein to keep you going. To make sure that you don’t damage your muscles badly, you also need the right blend of nutrients. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best foods to eat before a workout.
Bananas are well-known for being one of the most popular foods to eat before a workout and they are a great source of dietary potassium, but they’re also a fantastic source for carbs that act quickly and which fill you up with the necessary fuel for a workout. So while potassium is essential for making sure your muscles and nerves don’t tear, the carbs derived from bananas are there to help you keep going.
Particularly if you’re the kind of person who works out first thing in the morning without any breakfast in your stomach, bananas are highly recommended. They give you that necessary bit of fuel first thing, and they make sure that you don’t do any damage to your muscles.
Your pre-workout diet needs to be crammed with the right amount of carbs, and in this respect wholegrain bread is your new friend.
But although wholegrain bread by itself is good, you really should be looking to double down here by adding a few layers to it.
If you want to combine carbs with protein, you could add some honey and jam to the proceedings, or even a hard boiled egg. If you really want to up your game, we suggest topping the bread off with a few slices of turkey. Bingo.
Like bananas, oats are a great breakfast meal for anyone who usually skips eating anything before they get on the morning commute to work. Inexpensive and easy to digest and make, oats are crammed with the right amount of carbs that, once in your bloodstream, fill you with enough energy to ensure that you are able to keep going.
Oats are also crammed with fibre and protein, which makes them a better breakfast option for anyone who isn’t a big fan of bananas!
Okay, raisins aren’t for everyone. Indeed, a number of top sportsmen and women will tell you that they avoid raisins because the dried fruit plays havoc with their stomach. But if you know that your digestive system can handle them, you should consider adding them to your pre-workout diet. High in fructose and glucose, they are well known for helping cyclists in particular to plough through their intense workout regimes.
Fruit and Yogurt
Fruit and yogurt is a nice combination any time of the day, but it’s a particularly winning combination of foods to eat before a workout.
These two foods have the two thing you need the most: Protein and carbs. Fruit is high in the latter, and yogurt is high in the former.
So if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t fancy getting your carbs from sources such as bread and meat, you should consider grabbing some fruit before hitting the gym.
We all know that caffeine gives us a jolt of energy in the morning when we need a pick-me-up. Many people all around the world would even admit that they can’t function until they’ve had their first cup of Joe of the day.
It therefore figures that if caffeine can rouse us into getting into the shower and heading off to work, it can also give us enough energy for a workout session.
Fatigue is the number 1 factor that can kill a workout session early. Fortunately, caffeine slows fatigue down while increasing your fat-burn rate.
Top tip: Add a few shots of espresso to your workout shake.
You might be wondering where on earth the vegetables are on this list. Carrots are one of our favourite pre-workout foods because of the complex carbs they contain. It is these carbs which bolster out muscles with the right amount of energy needed to get us through an intense workout session. Like bananas, they are also rich in potassium which helps to control muscle contractions.
Chickpeas are the key ingredient for hummus and they taste divine. But did you know that they also make for a fantastic pre-workout snack? And did you also no that they don’t even require any cooking, which means them the perfect snack?!
To get your body in the right shape and mood for a workout, all you need to do is gobble up a quarter cup of chickpeas, which equates to a punch 30 grams of carbohydrates and 10g of fibre. For taste, you could season with lemon juice.
The world is divided up between those who prefer egg whites and those who prefer the yolk. But even if you prefer the yolk, you’re going to have to give it up if you want to get your body primed for a workout.
See, the fat in an egg yolk is really hard to metabolise quickly, and it therefore contributes to fatigue and sluggishness down at the gym. To maximise your workout session, you need to cut out the yolk and eat the egg whites. These bad boys are crammed with protein and zero fat.
Chocolate milk is easily one of the most overlooked foods to eat before a workout. But chocolate milk should be overlooked no more because, while unconventional, it boosts your session in ways you might not have thought possible.
Chocolate milk is crammed with calcium, an essential workout nutrient you won’t find in too many other places. Why is calcium so important? Because when you go for a workout, you sweat buckets – and you sweat out lots of calcium.
What are your favourite foods to eat before a workout?