When it comes to working out, we are always really particular about the fitness gear and the gym that we pick. An essential factor that, however, recedes to the background is food. Proper nourishment before a workout session is all-important. It powers your body with the fuel that is needed to provide energy for the rounds of exercise.
Adequate nutrition is also critical for providing you the needed energy for making your gains. Moreover, it minimizes the odds of injury, while, simultaneously, enhancing your endurance and stamina. Therefore, it is important to note foods that you should eat before hitting the gym.
Key pointers about nutrition before a workout
Essentially, consuming energy-boosting foods is essential for you before you spend hours at the gym. In this regard, here are some factors to bear in mind:
- Do not work out on an empty food.
- You need to ensure that there is a steady stream of carbs and proteins the power your exercise
- The timing to eat before going to the gym is critical. The ideal time ranges between 30 minutes to 3 hours before a workout
It is important to figure out the time for eating before exercising. This time is unique to every individual. This means that you will have to figure out the time to eat according to your body’s needs. Typically, you should eat 30 minutes to 3 hours before a workout. You don’t want to be eating food just before hitting the gym as that will only result in nausea.
In such a case, your body is still digesting the food. As you move your muscles, the food threatens to come out. Therefore, find out the time as per your body’s needs.
Foods to Eat Before You Hit the Gym
You should focus on foods that are rich in carbs and proteins mainly. The main aim is to get energy from what you eat, therefore, keep away from filler snacks such as junk food that boasts little nutritive value and works to satiate your hunger only.
You mainly need the foods to:
-Provide more energy
Our body is programmed to use glycogen and carbohydrates as the primary source of fuel. This is mainly because stored glycogen and carbs can be easily converted to ATP. These also convert faster than fat and protein. Therefore, your aim should be to add to your glycogen reserves in the pre-workout phase so that you are able to deliver an amazing performance in the gym.
-Enhance muscle anabolism
In this regard you need to add food enriched with protein in your diet. It will encourage muscle-protein synthesis and create an anabolic aura in the body. This is also helpful in treating repairing muscle damage from strenuous exercise.
-Keep muscle catabolism at bay
An exercise session feeds on glycogen quickly. As the main energy source runs out, the body looks for other energy sources. In doing so, it looks up to the muscles and breaks them down for retrieving amino acids for energy. Such a state is called catabolism, and it is entirely unhealthy as it prevents muscle recovering and growth.
Here is a look at foods that you should eat before a workout:
These are great sources of nutrition before workout. A study found out that bananas are effective as energy drinks for providing energy to athletes. These provide simple carbohydrates, natural sugars, and potassium. The mineral potassium is stored in the body for only a limited time. Therefore, having a banana about 30 minutes before workout helps replenish the body’s potassium reserves. It is a perfect means to boosting your glycogen banks and brushing up blood sugar levels too.
Oats are commonly recommended as food sources that enhance your stamina and energy. These boast a high fiber content, which provides a steady stream of carbohydrates in your bloodstream. You can always have oats in a number of recipes if you don’t like to consume them solo.
- Rice, chicken and vegetables
This trio of healthy items is a good selection for a pre-workout meal. These provide an adequate supply of complex carbohydrates and lean protein. The meal provides amino acids for encouraging anabolism and muscle growth. On top of that, it is a slow energy releasing source. So, it powers your workout well.
Caffeine is considered an efficient pre-workout drink option, as it helps generate energy. It also slows fatigue as well as multiplies the rate at which fat is burnt. Be sure to keep your coffee intake limited though, as an addiction of excess coffee poses several negative health consequences.
- Sweet potato, wholegrain brain and brown rice
These three items are also good sources of complex carbohydrates. If you combine them, they provide an adequate amount of protein too. This makes these food items, taken 2-3 hours before a workout, an excellent energy source that fuels your entire gym time. On a side note, carbs are best for people who pursue regular endurance activities like running and cycling.
- Fruit smoothies
Smoothies are excellent pre-workout snacks. These boast high-quality protein, and a potent combo of simple and complex carbs. These contain micronutrients too that promote health and wellness. Manuel Villacorta, registered dietician and author of Peruvian Power Foods recommends these. Villacorta points out, “The simple carbohydrates will hit for the first 15 to 20 minutes, [while] the complex finally kick in around the half-hour mark.”
- Dried fruits and Greek yogurt
Dried fruits showcase a high sugar profile and are high in calories too. If you are on a diet, then such food items should be avoided. However, in measured amounts, these are great as pre-workout food sources. These are quick sources of simple sugars. Pairing dried fruits with Greek yogurt provides protein to the body too, which optimizes the workout.
Peruvian root maca is increasingly applauded for its role in enhancing energy and stamina. Therefore, it is great as a pre-workout food item. You can try it in addition to foods such as yogurt and smoothies.
- Egg white
When it comes to eggs, their whites are a great workout option. A single egg provides about 4 grams of protein with no fat. However, the egg yolk is broken down slowly, thus, it leaves a person sluggish and bloated during a gym session. Therefore, if you are up for eggs, choose the egg white as part of your pre-workout meal.
- Apple and raisins
If you are an early bird, and prefer to work out in the morning, then such food items are the perfect pick. Raisins, like other dried fruits, are good sources of natural simple sugars. On top of that, raisins and apples provide fiber, which provide energy. Add some peanut butter to the duo as well. It will provide the needed monounsaturated fats as well. The trio assists in making you feel less hungry without making filling you up excessively.
You have a lot of options to choose from before you go for a work out. The main energy fuel that you need are carbohydrates. These will make sure that you have extra glucose in store in case your glycogen reserves are depleted. You will also need proteins, specifically, if you are weight training. Such strength training exercises result in small tears in the muscle fiber. Protein can help repair these. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated.