There’s a myth that starving yourself before a workout is good. It’s just that, a myth with no science to back it. You do need some food to help sustain your body through a workout or it starts feasting on your own muscle mass. One study showed that cyclists who ate something before their workout lost the same amount of fat as those who ate nothing, but the group that ate nothing also took ten percent of their calories used from burning protein and some of it was muscle mass. That’s counterproductive. Not all food is the same when it comes to eating before a workout. Here are some of the best pre-workout foods.
Grab a banana or a fruit smoothie before you workout.
Both of these make a great pre-workout snack. The banana has natural sugar, potassium and easy to use carbohydrates, so it can supply your body with energy by boosting your stores of glycogen and boost blood sugar levels. Fruit smoothies are also high in natural sugars and provide the same benefits as a banana. They also contain phytonutrients and extra nutrition for good health. Be ware of consuming these more frequently than pre-workout, since they’re high in fructose!
Yogurt and fresh fruit make a great pre-workout snack.
When you combine the quick energy fruit with the long lasting protein of yogurt, you have a snack that not only boosts your energy, it helps prevent muscles tissue breakdown. Top your Greek yogurt with berries and throw in a few seeds in your yogurt or find Greek yogurt topped with them. You can pitch some coconut, dried figs and vanilla into plain Greek yogurt for flavor, but don’t get the ones with fruit flavors since they’re higher in calories and sugar.
One of my favorites is an apple and nut butter.
While it’s easier to get peanut butter, I’m a huge fan of almond and cashew butter. No matter which you choose, slicing an apple and spreading the contents of two tablespoons of nut butter on the slices is a delicious way to get all the pre-workout energy and protein you need. If you’re not a fan of apples, use a banana instead.
- Eat your pre-workout snack about a half hour to an hour before you workout. It gives it time for the benefits to be available for the body and to avoid cramping.
- While healthy fat is good for you, too much can hamper your performance. It digests slowly and can make you feel out of sorts and sluggish so you won’t do your best.
- Having a source of protein in your workout food can help prevent muscle breakdown and boost muscle recovery.
- If you’re eating complex carbohydrates before a workout, do it two hours before the workout starts. They’re slower to digest and can help maintain blood sugar levels.