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Poor and unhealthy eating habits can chip away at your best efforts to stay fit. It is a misconception that eating before a workout is not possible. Conversely, having the apt food before a workout can provide the necessary fuel and energy to make your workout through the last set of squats or the last few minutes on the treadmill.
But, the question is what makes a good meal before a workout? Well, every individual has a different body type, there are certain foods that can help you stay strong even during the toughest workouts. While people believe that the best food for energy is protein, carbohydrates are actually the best fuel for the body- especially when you are doing strength training.
Reasons to Eat Before a Workout
A pre-workout meal usually falls within 3 hours of the workout. Eating the right foods in the correct quantities can provide you nutrients with numerous benefits. These benefits include;
1. Higher Energy Level
Fueling up your glycogen stores prior to a workout is actually like filling your body's energy tank. This further gives a significant boost to your energy levels. Having a diet low in carbohydrates can make it difficult for you to handle intense workouts for glycogen levels being low. Besides, there are also other factors that affect the energy levels, like sleep pattern and hydration.
2. Better Muscle Growth
Having a protein before a workout helps release amino acids into the bloodstream thus promoting protein synthesis. Therefore, if you are planning to break down muscles, make sure to eat sufficient calories to have better muscle growth.
3. Better Protection to Muscles
A strenuous workout, especially with heavyweights, takes the body into a catabolic environment. This can break down your muscle tissue to use the energy. A good meal before a workout can help to avoid muscle breakdown for improved energy repair along with recovery.
Pre Workout Meal Ideas
Now, the question is what to eat before a workout? To construct a good pre-workout meal, it is essential to understand your body's digestion rate and response to different foods to decide the timing of the meal. Usually, dietary fats require 6-8 hours for digestion, carbohydrates take 2-3 hours and proteins need 3-4 hours. Now, before we get into specific details, let me tell you that it is not necessary for the meal to be fully digested for an energy-filled workout.
The Key Factors to Revolve Around to Decide About What to Eat Have Before a Workout Include;
The low glycemic carbs release slowly into the bloodstream, thus filling up the glycogen stores to provide a power-filled workout session of an hour or so. Besides, these also create a higher anabolic effect.
A low-fat dairy source or a moderate quantity of meat helps to increase the rate of protein synthesis. This further reduces the protein breakdown not only through the workout but also after the workout.
As is known, fats take a longer time to digest. It is important for your pre-workout meal to contain low-fat content. Therefore, make sure to keep away from oils and fatty meats. Go for low-fat sources of protein and fiber, like egg white, yogurt, and maca.
For an hour-long standard workout that involves running, lifting, and cycling, it is important to have a combination of protein and carbohydrates. Doing this would provide better energy levels.
Some of the best food items to include in your meal before a workout are;
Bananas make the best pre-workout snack for being rich in fast-acting carbohydrates that provide usable fuel for a standard workout. Besides, a good supply of potassium helps to maintain muscle and nerve function.
Fruit smoothies form a great pre-workout meal that contains high-quality protein with a combination of simple and complex carbs that can be digested easily and quickly. Moreover, the great combination of carbohydrates and proteins provides a constant energy stream all through a standard workout.
Oats are high in fiber and facilitate a constant release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This further provides a constant supply of energy all through the workout. You can add some almonds for taste and increased energy levels.
This is probably the best snack to eat before a workout. It doesn't involve any cooking. Eating a quarter cup of chickpeas, with a few drops of lemon juice added to it can provide about 30 grams of carbs, 9 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein.
This is a great pre-workout snack if you have just a few minutes before the workout. Being light, these simple carbs would provide instant energy to the body without even weighing you down. Some of the good options to include are apricots, dried berries, and pineapple. Going for a quarter cup is a good idea.
Maca root is a natural supplement known to increase stamina and provide continuous energy. It also provides other health benefits like detoxification and contains high antioxidant properties. It can be added as a supplement to yogurt and smoothies.
The fat contained in egg yolks is digested gradually. This can cause bloating and make you feel sluggish during the workout. Therefore, egg whites are a better option to go for.
Greek yogurt is packed with proteins. Moreover, the level is double what is contained by plain yogurt while the sugar count is simply half the content of plain yogurt. If you are not allergic to lactose, Greek yogurt can provide a good energy boost to your body.
Remember, starving will never help you with weight loss. It will only shut down the body to release fats. If you are trying to lose fat and tone your body, it is important to eat before a workout. However, make sure to have at least 45 minutes to an hour between eating and the workout for digestion.
If in doubt as to what you should be eating as a part of your pre-workout meal, you can simply connect with one of the leading dieticians. These experts will help you chart a diet that will benefit you and help you get the best of your workout!