You probably know it's important to eat something before you work out but have you thought about what you should be eating before your workouts? Anything healthy is great but for the ideal workout you need the right combination of carbohydrates and protein.
Next time you're getting ready to work out try one of these pre-workout meals:
We're not talking about instant oatmeal packs here. Stick with whole oats and add a little bit of cut up fruit to make this meal more interesting. Oats have loads of fiber, which stimulates the release of carbohydrates—and therefore energy into your body. A touch of honey can make oats sweeter without weighing you down.
2. Fruit Smoothies
This delicious snack makes the perfect pre-workout meal. For an extra protein boost try to incorporate nuts into your smoothies (almond milk is a great way to do this). Some of the best fruits for a pre-workout smoothie are bananas, blueberries and pineapple.
Chickpeas are among the most nutritious vegetables out there and you can eat them raw with a touch of lemon juice for flavour for best effect. Homemade hummus with whole wheat pitas can also be a great way to get the protein boost from chickpeas, but make sure you stick with whole wheat pitas.
4. Dried Fruit
This is an ideal breakfast for anyone who rushes right out the door for their workout. You can get a massive energy boost from just a handful of dried fruit. Some of the best options are dried apricots, berries and pineapple. You'll want to eat about a quarter cup.
5. Whole Grain Toast
Whole grains are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates and a range of nutrients. Add some jam (preferably without any added sugar) or half of a sliced up banana to give yourself an extra energy boost.
6. Yogurt Parfait
You'll want to stick with Greek yogurt for the best effect, but yogurt is one of the best pre-workout snacks you can have. Sprinkle a touch of almond slivers or dried fruit on top for an extra nutritional boost. During the summer you can also add fresh berries.
7. Cottage Cheese
While we're on the subject of dairy, cottage cheese is an excellent high-protein option. You can eat a half cup of cottage cheese for breakfast. If you're eating your breakfast a full hour before your workout you can spread this on a slice of whole grain toast.
8. Egg Whites
As delicious as they might be, the fat in egg yolks is slow to digest and will likely make you feel bloated. Stick with just egg whites to give yourself the perfect pre-workout boost.
9. Brown Rice and Chicken
If you're working out in the afternoon or evening and you don't feel like having traditional breakfast foods for dinner you can eat a lean chicken breast and a cup of rice. You can also substitute the rice for sweet potatoes if you prefer.
Bananas have lots of protein, potassium and the complex carbohydrates you need to stay energized through a typical forty five minute long workout. They are among the healthiest fruit out there and make a great snack both before and after your workout.
This might sound strange, but studies have proven that regular caffeine drinkers enjoy their workouts more because they're able to generate more caffeine. Try adding a shot or two of espresso to your pre-workout smoothie. Just don't have any of those fancy dessert coffees because the extra calories will weigh you down.
Maca is a Peruvian root said to increase energy and stamina. Many South American soccer players eat this root before games to improve their performance and the root has become a popular natural supplement throughout America in recent years. You can purchase ground maca in many health food stores and add it to your smoothies, yogurt or just about anything you might already be eating.
Remember that eating before every workout is crucial. Many people believe eating less is the key to losing weight and for some people it is, but eating regularly is crucial to maintaining a healthy metabolism. You should also leave at least forty-five minutes between your meal and your workout, preferably an hour if you decide to have a big breakfast.