The best way to have enough energy during your workout is to be smart about pre-workout nutrition.
It's not just about what you eat. When you eat, how much you eat, and what combination of foods you eat are all important considerations. Planning the right meals and snacks at the right time can make your workouts more effective.
Keep reading for the pre-workout nutrition tips you should know to get the most out of your exercise plan.
Don't Fast Before a Workout
Your body needs fuel especially if you are putting it to work. Some think they'll lose more weight by fasting or skipping meals. They're doing themselves an injustice.
Eating a healthy breakfast is the first step to optimal health. It kickstarts your metabolism and can help stabilize blood sugars. This can help your memory, concentration, and energy levels.
It's important to eat the right breakfast though. A doughnut isn't going to cut it. Eating refined carbs or high sugar foods will spike your insulin. This causes your fat cells to absorb the calories. Not leaving enough left to burn when you need more energy.
All carbs aren't evil. Some are actually perfect to fuel your body.
The Right Carbohydrates for Pre-Workout Nutrition Plans
Carbohydrates are great fuel for your body. In fact, 50-60% of your body's energy used in a one to four-hour workout come from carbs.
Your body turns the glucose from carbs into glycogen. Eating carbs can increase your body's supply and stores of glycogen. This gives your muscles the energy to move.
You need the right carbohydrates. Some optimal choices are:
- Squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach
- black beans
- whole-wheat pasta or bread
- quinoa, barley, oatmeal, wheat bran
- cherries, blueberries, bananas, apples
- greek yogurt
Carbohydrates aren't the only thing your body needs.
Your best choice is to eat a meal filled with carbs, proteins, and fats about 2-3 hours before your workout. This gives your body time to turn the meal into fuel.
If it's not possible for you to have a full meal you can eat carbs and protein in the hour to 45 minutes prior to working out.
If you're hungry on the way to your workout a smaller snack can be your best choice. Greek yogurt, protein nutrition bars or shakes are good options. An orange, apple or banana will do the trick as well.
Protein Isn't All About Meat
Protein is vital for optimal health. That's where we get our essential amino acids from.
Almost everything in our body needs and uses protein. Protein is important for muscles, tendons, neurotransmitters, skin, and organs. They're all created, maintained, and replenished by protein.
Some great forms of protein for pre-workout nutrition could be:
- oatmeal, porridge, whole grains
- sweet potatoes, vegetables
- fish, chicken, meat
- protein shakes and bars
- milk (chocolate milk)
- Greek yogurt
Protein is also important after a workout. It can help relieve muscle fatigue and replenish your energy.
The amount of protein you need depends on the intensity, duration, and type of workout. 20 to 40 grams is usually the range of protein needed for your pre-nutrition workout meal. 15-25 grams of protein are beneficial post-workout.
Make the Most of Your Workout
You put a lot of work and energy into your workout. Make your workout work for you. If your body has the right fuel in the right combination you can maximize your workout potential.
Check out our blog for more tips to make your workout the best it can be.