Home Nutrition The Best Pre-Workout Snacks to Keep You Going at the Gym

The Best Pre-Workout Snacks to Keep You Going at the Gym

Written by Decyry Jhoy Serrano, RPh

Working out and eating healthy go hand in hand to provide you with maximum results; however, they are easier said than done.

How do you power through a tough workout session, especially at the end of a busy workday without having had dinner yet?

What do you eat to enhance your athletic performance, and muscle recovery, and satisfy your fitness needs?

We suppose that right now, you are in search of a full package.

Something that provides protein, carbohydrates, and fat that can satisfy your hunger, strengthen your muscles, and boost body energy before your workout.

In that case, we might have exactly what you are looking for because, in this article, we cover everything you need to know about pre-workout snacks, including some healthy nutritious options.

Why you Must Fuel Your Body Before Working Out

In general, we must eat so that we can get the nutrients we need to survive and the energy we need to carry out activities of daily living, our jobs, recreation, etc.

So, with exercising, not taking enough food before a workout session could cause you to feel tired, irritable, and nauseous.

Poor pre-workout nutrition could also make you become more susceptible to injuries as your muscles are weak and you lack endurance too.

Fueling before a workout can save you from hunger, injury, and fatigue.

It improves your performance and boosts your muscles.

However, it is essential to pick the right snacks to boost your energy level rather than slow you down.

Important Nutrients for Pre-workout Snack

You need to get your gym session out of the way but you don’t have a pre-workout supplement or maybe you can’t use them. So, what do you do?

We do what is always done when we need a quick bite. We grab a snack, right?

But not just any snack will do; you need one that replicates a full meal on a smaller scale. That means it should be similar to a well-balanced meal in terms of nutritive value.

Snacks that help maintain the energy level and aid you through a longer workout are those that have balanced amounts of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats.

In order to help you create the ideal pre-workout snack options, we will explain how the various nutrients affect your training.

1) Carbohydrates help with recovery

Simple carbohydrates are found in white sugar; they absorb into the bloodstream rapidly and can cause an energy boost.

However, these carbs disappear quickly from our bodies and cause our energy to drop.

Complex Carbs perform differently from simple ones.

These Carbohydrates in whole grains supply an uninterrupted flow of sugar into the bloodstream since they are digested slowly.

These foods provide more extended and more durable levels of energy to allow you to complete the intensity of your training.

2) Protein is an excellent source for repairing and building muscles

Consuming protein prior to exercise has many benefits, such as increased muscle protein synthesis, reduced muscle damage, and improved recovery.

Protein usually is found in Turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, nuts, beans, seeds, and leafy grains.

3) Fats are not unhealthy

Consuming fats before an exercise can boost satiety and act as a fuel source for more prolonged or less intense exercises.

However, all fats are not healthy. Saturated fats are included in foods like butter, cheese, and red meats may create a feeling of sluggishness and fatigue.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it is best to avoid these food items before exercising.

However, unsaturated fats are suitable for the heart, found in fish, nuts, olive oil, and avocado.

What You Should Eat Before A Workout

A regular workout is one of the best things you can accomplish to maintain optimal health.

The food you eat before exercise is essential for your body performance.

Below we have compiled a list of what we believe are the best pre-workout snacks.

These foods will help to boost your energy, prevent muscle damage, and much more.

1) Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an excellent source of energy. It is also digestible, making it a great food to eat before a workout.

Oats are full of fiber, and they release carbohydrates slowly.

Because of this slow release, your energy levels stay constant throughout your exercise, so you’ll be able to work more intensely for longer.

Also, these foods have Vitamin B, which helps convert carbohydrates into levels of energy.

2) Whole Grain Bread 

You can get a massive amount of carbs in one slice of whole-grain bread.

Eating whole-grain bread decreases the risk of most extensive diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, stroke, and heart attack.

Hard-boil egg with some low-fat turkey on whole-grain bread makes the perfect protein-rich snack.

3) Fruit Smoothie

Our muscles comprise 75% of water, and this is more than your brain, heart, or skin, so keep hydrated before sweating.

Sipping a small fruit smoothie is one of the most delicious ways to hydrate yourself.

To make a perfect blend, mix 1 cup frozen berries, 1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt, half cup unsweetened vanilla soy milk, and a teaspoon of honey.

There is a chance you will get almost a cup of liquid along with 41 grams of carbs and polyphenols, potent compounds found in berries, believed to reduce inflammation and accelerate the recovery of muscle growth.

4) Banana with Almond Butter

Carbs provide fuel to our brain and body, and they make up 90 percent of the calories from bananas.

Banana (fresh fruit) is one of the best instant diets for pre-workout.

It is also known as nature’s power bar.

Bananas are loaded with potassium and carbohydrates, which aids muscle and nerve function. Banana with cinnamon and oats give extra energy and help to control blood sugar.

In a glass jar, add oatmeal and bananas cut into slices as well as cinnamon, along with glasses of milk.

Keep it in the fridge for a night, then enjoy it at the beginning of the day.

5) Hard-Boiled Egg and Whole Wheat Toast 

Eggs are an easy and full protein pack pre-workout meal. It can also help you to avoid cravings for food after a workout.

The protein content in eggs helps in preventing muscle metabolism during exercise.

Eating the hard-boiled egg on whole-grain toast is a rich, simple, easy snack. Eating hard-boiled eggs is said to enhance your beauty and grow your hair, skin, and nails.

Additionally, it’s best to eat egg whites instead of yolks so if you can, remove the yellow part from the eggs after boiling and only consume the whites.

6) Nuts and Dried Fruits Trail Mix 

Dried fruits are a source of simple and easily digestible carbohydrates, so try to eat a handful every day.

You can make a simple, quick, and nutritious pre-exercise snack with some dried berries, figs, pineapple, and apricots. 

Before your workout, both nuts and dried fruits can be consumed as a snack, on top of cereal, in yogurt, salads that provide us with high protein, unsaturated fats, and antioxidants.

7) Apple with Peanut Butter 

Apple provides sugar (Carbohydrates), and almonds have protein as well as healthy fat. This is a delicious and highly nutritious pre-workout snack.

 It does not digest quickly, but people find it easy and simple for pre-workout snacks.

8) Peanut Butter Sandwich

Peanut butter is the best source of protein as well as healthy fats.

The consumption of peanut butter prior to working out can make you feel fuller and also aid in avoiding post-workout overeating and hunger. 

You can make a quick snack with some peanut butter on whole-wheat or multi-grain bread.

9) Grilled Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Broccoli 

So, you’re thinking that this is not a snack and you are partially right, it can be a full meal for regular gym-goers but for many professional athletes and bodybuilders, it’s a snack.

The primary function of a meal before a workout is to boost your body’s energy by giving muscle glycogen and amino acids to help you burn calories when you are doing weight training. 

If you are building muscle mass and making packs, then the food group is a must-try.

10) Fruit with Yogurt 

Another good pre-workout snack is yogurt with fruit. Yogurt is a perfect source of protein. 

A combo of fruits and Greek yogurt provides protein and carbohydrate punch.

Greek yogurt has double protein as compared to regular yogurt.

The carbohydrates contained in the fruit break down quickly and can be used to provide energy during your workout.

Easy and Healthy Pre-Workout Snack Ideas for On The Go

Best Pre-Workout Snack for Bodybuilding

Bodybuilders must fuel their strength training sessions with carbohydrates and protein, focusing on protein.

Eating a small number of snacks before your workout but not sitting lean on your stomach will help you develop the muscles you desire.

You must have equal parts of Protein and Carbs in your small meal.

Some good ideas include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Dried fruit
  • Whole fruits like Oranges
  • Strawberries or Bananas
  • Scrambled egg whites
  • Lean chicken or turkey breast
  • Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter or sliced avocado

Top Pre-Workout Snack for Runners

Runners should intake carbohydrates and some protein before running.

Having protein shakes (in water or low-fat milk) just before exercising can increase muscle protein synthesis and is one of the best morning pre-workout meals.

They can eat the following healthy combinations of carbs and protein. Compared to other exercises, runners should stay more hydrated with plain water, or they can drink coconut water.

  • Whole banana
  • Apple slices with nut butter snack
  • Fortified cereals with skim milk
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Fruit smoothies made with milk or yogurt
  • Pretzels with hummus
  • Pineapple chunks with cottage cheese

If your workouts are intense, your post-workout snack should offer H2O, water is uber important for your overall energy.

Top Pre-Workout Snacks for Energy Boost

When you are getting ready for a workout, you need to ensure your energy level is high because you will push your body hard during the workout.

You should select a good pre-workout snack that keeps your body hydrated and help you go through the most challenging exercises.

Here are some of the best snack options that consider eating before a workout.

  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Greek yogurt
  • Chicken with brown rice and vegetables
  • Apple with Peanut Butter and raisins
  • Yogurt parfaits with granola and fruit
  • The slices of lean meat with whole grain bread 

Pre-Workout Snacks for Weight Loss

Weight loss through exercise is about finding a difficult balance to maintain. When a person is trying to lose weight, they don’t need to eat less or eat at a specific time of meals.

You should take enough calories to fuel your body and provide ample energy to perform the intense workouts.

A light meal about half an hour prior to your training can enable you to start your activity full of energy. Combining carbohydrates and protein is an effective way to fuel your body.

Some best pre-workout Snacks include:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Whole fruit
  • Lean meat on top of whole-grain bread
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal sweetened with honey or agave
  • Fruit smoothies

Snacks For Women’s Health…

As a woman, you need to make sure you are not consuming as many calories while still being able to fuel your workout. Women have a particular health concern.

They neither burn too many calories per day like a man nor do they have the same workout habit.

They need that same outstanding balance of carbs and protein; depending on their workout, they also need to keep the calories low.  

The best pre-workout snacks for women’s health include:

  • Whole fruit
  • Lean meat on top of whole-grain bread
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fruit smoothies, especially those made with almond milk or another low-calorie option
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal sweetened with honey or agave

Starting a custom weight loss program helps you adopt healthy habits so you can lose weight and keep it off.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Drink Plenty of Water

Hydration is an essential component of your workout meal. Try to drink at least 1 Liter of water approximately 30-60 minutes before your exercise.

It is suggested to consume sodium-rich beverages and water before a workout to maintain the fluid balance and avoid excessive fluid loss.

An article published in the Journal of Sports Sciences states that if an individual is regularly exercising, the deficiency in a fluid resulting from one workout can affect the next workout if adequate replacement of fluids doesn’t occur.

If you have been working out for one or more than one hour, it is a good idea to drink during the workout to boost your quick energy levels and ensure a steady flow of blood sugar.

Another scientific piece further details that drinking fresh coconut water, which is a naturally refreshing drink, can be used to aid in body rehydration after an exercise.

Timing of your Pre-Workout Snack is Vital

Consuming a large meal before your workout could cause an upset stomach and bloating.

This means they run, swim, cycle or jog on an empty stomach because it speeds up the burning of calories.

The ideal time to have eating a meal or snack before exercise is between 1-and 2 hours before a training session.

It’s all about your metabolism, how large the meal is, and possibly the type of exercise you are doing.

Smartly timed snacks can give the body the fuel it needs to build muscle, burn fat, and recover as best it can.

 If you consume food for 45-60 minutes before your workout, make sure you choose food items that are easy to digest and include mainly carbohydrates and some lean protein.

This will prevent stomach problems that occur during exercise.

What Should You Avoid Eating Prior to a Workout?

As earlier alluded to, there are some foods that may be healthy but still should be avoided and there are those that are quite unhealthy and should be avoided before a workout session at all costs.

The most unhealthy foods that should be avoided before exercise include processed white sugar.

This could cause the quick energy levels to increase and then drop during exercise.

 High levels of saturated fats, those found in cheese and red meats, can be more challenging to digest and slow the metabolism.

Conclusion

An excellent pre-workout meal can be a great way to fuel your workout. However, it’s not always necessary.

Remember that the overall nutritional intake is equally important.

When you focus on a balanced diet that includes an equal amount of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats from nutrient-dense and whole food sources, you will have enough energy to be fit and get the job done.

Keep in mind that hydration is also essential; take plenty of water to refill the fluids you have lost while exercising.

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