While a stomach full of food isn’t exactly the best motivator to work out, you don’t want to sweat on an empty stomach, either. Some foods you’ll want to avoid completely, such as sugary snacks and other junk food, but you’ll need others to make the most out of your workout. So what are some of the best foods to consume before going for a run, doing a few laps in the pool, or whatever it is that gets your heart pumping?
Enjoy The Sweet Stuff
In a perfect world, we’d be able to eat three cupcakes before working out and feel just fine. Alas, this is not possible, however you can still enjoy sweet things pre-workout, such as fruit smoothies. Throw all your favorites into a blender, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and bananas. Don’t forget to add protein for a super-nutritious shake, such as almond or hemp milk and Greek yogurt. Oats, flax seeds and nuts are also yummy additions. You can also eat fresh fruit before getting your sweat on, such as cut strawberries filled with Greek yogurt. Try a cup of water-heavy fruits to keep you hydrated throughout your workout, such as watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew.
Fuel With Protein Bars
If you’re feeling particularly ambitious you can try making your own protein bars, however organic store-bought versions also work well. The bars provide a nice mix of protein and carbohydrates, two things you definitely need for a successful workout. After all, if you have nothing to burn off, you’re going to get tired real quick! Protein bars are also ideal when exercising after work but before dinner. Recommended power bars for working out are those with about 25 to 40 grams of carbohydrates and about 10 grams of protein.
Eyeing That Huge Breakfast Burrito?
Feel free to oink out on an enormous breakfast burrito, a pre-workout meal that packs plenty of carbs, lean protein and healthy fat. Look for versions that feature lots of yummy, nutritious ingredients, such as goat cheese, eggs, quinoa or other whole grain, hummus and avocado. Another on-the-go option, you’ll feel full for awhile, so it’s less likely you’ll want to chow down later and potentially hurt the work you’ve just put in.
If you’ve got some time to make a snack before a workout, try something that indulges your love of comfort food, such as no-bake peanut butter balls or a variation on pizza. Make the balls by combining rolled oats and coconut with natural peanut butter; research recipes for whole grain “pizza bites,” such as gluten-free quinoa bites.
Eat about 30 minutes before your workout for best results. Whatever you decide to eat, try to always include complex carbohydrates and protein. Avoid foods that are super high in fiber, which slow carbohydrate absorption and make you feel slug-like. Refrain from “experimenting” with foods you’ve never tried before to prevent indigestion and other issues. Trans and saturated fats should also be avoided, as they may also upset the digestive tract while exercising.
What are your favorite pre-workout meals and snacks? Tell us in the comments section!