Home Nutrition What to Eat Before a Workout: Pre-Workout Nutrition

What to Eat Before a Workout: Pre-Workout Nutrition

Written by Jenoye Campbell, LPN

Is a pre-workout meal necessary?

Well, do you go to the gym without your gym bag or your workout gear? No, and that’s because those things are necessities.

It is the same way food is also a necessity.

Food in the body works like gas in an engine. It would be difficult to run an engine without gas.

So, in this article, we will look at why you need to fuel your body for strength training and other rigorous workout activities.

How Does Food Fuel Exercise?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, sports nutrition is important to ensure adequate food and fluid intake before, during, and after exercising.

Pre and post-workout nutrition will aid with endurance and recovery.

Carbohydrates (sugars) are required by the body to power your muscles during activity.

If you don’t eat enough carbs before working out, your body will start burning fat instead of utilizing glycogen stored in your muscles.

This sounds good, but it’s not because you can experience muscle cramps, weariness, and even dizziness because of this.

Carbs are the body’s preferred source of energy.

Our bodies break down the carbohydrates in food into glucose, which is subsequently used as fuel to power our muscles.

Your muscles become stronger and more efficient at utilizing oxygen when you eat properly before working out.

This means you’ll feel less fatigued and recover from workouts faster.

Pre-Workout Nutrition Fundamentals

1) Protein

Muscle is made up of proteins, which are the building blocks of the body, therefore, your body cannot create muscles without protein.

You must consume enough protein before, during, and after your workout in order to have a successful session.

Around 20 grams of high-quality protein should be present in a decent pre-workout meal.

This can be accomplished by consuming lean meats such as chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, eggs, dairy products, soybeans, almonds, seeds, and legumes, among other foods.

2) Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the source of energy for your body.

They boost your energy levels and give you the power you need to workout for longer periods.

Your body also requires carbs for repair and muscle building after a strenuous workout, as such, you should eat carbohydrates right after your workout.

Avoid simple sweets (such as candy) in favor of complex carbs (like oatmeal).

3) Fat

Fat is responsible for the flavor and texture of food.

It keeps you full and gives you energy. However, too much fat might stifle digestion and create stomach discomfort.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle necessitates the consumption of healthy fats.

Avocado, olive oil, flaxseed oil, salmon, sardines, almonds, walnuts, coconut oil, and so on are all good fat sources.

When Can you Eat Before a Workout?

When it comes to nutrition before an exercise, timing is everything.

The optimal time to eat before a workout is 30 minutes before it begins. This gives your body time to start digesting food and preparing for physical activity.

You may have stomach cramps and bloating if you eat too close to your workout.

Here’s What to Eat Before and After a Workout

What Foods Can I Eat Before a Workout?

Carbs are a source of energy, therefore they should be a part of any pre-workout snack or dinner, along with lots of fluids (ideally water).

Consuming carbs before engaging in high-intensity aerobic sports such as cycling or running guarantees that your muscles have enough glucose to keep working and prevent muscular breakdown.

In sports medicine, the foods below may be recommended by your sports dietitian.

1) PB&J

Carbs abound in bread and jelly.

It provides the muscles with the strength they need to undertake activities.

This peanut butter is high in protein, which makes you feel good and helps you avoid feeling hungry after a workout or binge-eating.

Research shows that eating peanuts helps with weight gain in the form of muscle.

2) Oatmeal with Fruit and Low-Fat Milk

You’ll digest the carbohydrates more slowly in this mixture to maintain a steady glucose level.

The energy will continue to grow.

Add some high protein milk for added nutrient density, as the calcium will strengthen the bones of the thighs.

3) Protein Shakes

Many studies have reported the potential of pre-workout protein consumption to boost athletic performance.

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

4) Bananas

Bananas are considered the best morning pre-workout meal. Bananas have double the number of easy-to-digest carbs compared to other fruits, such as apples.

There’s a reason that runners love their post-race bananas — the fruit is packed with simple carbs, natural sugars, and, best of all, potassium.

That electrolyte helps prevent muscle cramps and can be lost through sweat.

You can have half a banana as is or as banana slices.

5) Smoothie with Fruit and Yogurt

Smoothies are simple to make and digest, and they can help you stay energized during your workout.

Some stores’ versions have more sugar than others.

Make your own version with protein-rich yogurt and fruits that are low in calories.

To stay hydrated, add water to the mix. Lack of water, according to research, can cause the muscular tone to deteriorate.

6) Pre-workout Supplements

These products may enhance performance, improve strength, increase lean body mass and reduce fatigue.

Creatine is probably the most commonly used sports supplement.

It has been shown to increase muscle mass, muscle fiber size, and muscle strength and power, all while delaying fatigue.

What Foods Can I Eat After a Workout?

After your training, eat healthy foods to improve your health and fitness. Your bodies use carbs as a source of energy.

The jogging and exercise activity gives your muscles a boost.

Replenishing with a combination of lean protein and carbs will aid muscle recovery.

You also need to drink lots of fluid to maintain fluid balance by replacing what was lost.

1) Sports Drink

Water can help you stay hydrated if you exercise for less than half an hour.

However, if you want to go for a longer period of time, you will need to replenish your electrolytes. It’s a mineral that aids in hydration.

When you are sweating, they are usually destroyed. So choose an electrolyte-rich beverage, such as sports drinks or coconut water.

2) Sweet Potatoes and Salmon

This contains a lot of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to relieve muscle soreness after a workout.

For a total of 23 carbohydrates, serve fish with baked potatoes. Every day, you’ll get all the vitamins you need to enhance your immunity.

Serve sweet potatoes raw or baked and as a base, use olive oil.

3) Veggies, Brown Rice, and Chicken

At only 142 calories per half pack, skinless chicken breasts have a high protein content, which is why the half pack has 27g of protein.

Aside from vitamin B-6, the vitamin is necessary for immune system health.

To obtain the most nutrition and carbohydrates, serve with brown rice and vegetables.

4) Fruit and Greek Yogurt

Each cup has 20 grams of protein in it.

If you garnish your salad with fruits, it will add more nutritious value.

Because blueberries include antioxidants, they provide additional health advantages.

According to research, consuming these meals after a workout can help reduce muscular inflammation caused by exercise.

5) Whole Grain Turkey Wrap

Prepare your snacks as soon as you finish your workout.

Whole grain has a high carbohydrate content, while a 3-ounce meal of turkey has 18 grams of protein.

Replace the mayo with creamy avocado, which is high in potassium and magnesium, both of which aid to ease muscle discomfort.

Avocados also include beneficial unsaturated fats and micronutrients.

6) Hard-Boiled Egg and Whole-Wheat Toast

This pre and post-workout meal comprises carbohydrates and fiber, which minimize the number of calories you burn while exercising and keep your blood sugar in check.

For the best results, serve the egg without the yolk.

They are an important protein that contains nine essential amino acids required to build muscle. 

7) Chocolate Milk

These childhood favorites provide a perfect carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of about 4 to 1 for fueling and re-building muscle.

A woman’s blood glucose dropped considerably after drinking a glass of wine before exercising, compared to a non-alcoholic beverage the day before.

Chocolate milk has 80% water, so you can drink it to replace the water you lose when exercising.

Foods to Avoid Eating Before a Workout

After a workout, the last thing you need is to eat heavy, difficult-to-digest foods.

  • Avoid high-protein and high-fat foods before exercise to keep gastrointestinal troubles to a minimum.
  • Never begin an exercise program without first giving it a try. It may be challenging to locate your ideal diet before you begin exercising, depending on what is on your list.
  • Make sure you’re not eating stale food.
  • Fat is more difficult to digest and might cause gastrointestinal issues.
  • Fibers and proteins can be difficult to incorporate into some people’s exercise routines.
  • Keep track of your body’s strengths and limitations because everyone is different. In the case of races.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, It is important to eat before and after your workout.

Do well to observe the appropriate workout timing as well as the right foods required before and after your workout.

Eat foods rich in protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

Try to eat full meals and a balanced meal at each sitting for a good overall diet.

Even if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s essential to make sure you’re taking in enough energy-rich foods to fully benefit from your workouts and achieve the strength, endurance, agility, and flexibility that you hope to gain.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I eat 30 minutes before a workout?

Oatmeal, protein drinks, and bananas are ideal pre-workout foods. Typically, the pre-workout meal you consume during a workout is determined by the type of exercise you are doing.

Is it OK to workout on an empty stomach?

If you exercise before eating, your blood sugar levels may drop, making you feel sluggish.

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