Planning your pre-workout meals is a vital part of your diet and exercise routine.
It is important that you consume the right food in order to optimize your workout and stay energized throughout.
Certain foods will allow you to make the most of your daily exercise plan, and there is a difference between the types of foods you should eat before and after your workout.
If you are looking for some ideas for your pre-workout planning, try these tips and snack ideas to help give you a boost in your workout.
Have a balance of carbs and protein
While protein is an important part of any pre-workout diet, making sure you have enough carbohydrates is equally important. Carbohydrates are what give you energy and sustain you through your workout. Make sure to consume an even mixture of simple and complex carbohydrates as well.
This will allow your body to release energy at a steady rate. Try combining bread, which includes complex carbs, with fruit, which includes simple carbs. For example, a piece of whole grain toast with slices of banana makes for an excellent pre-workout snack. Oatmeal is an even better choice than bread as they are known to release their energy slowly.
Bananas, in general, are great for long workouts, as they provide the body with potassium, one of the important body electrolytes, which you lose when you sweat. An apple with peanut or almond butter is a great snack to combine protein with fruit as well. Apples are rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins, and will help you avoid a sugar crash mid workout. Another great snack to consider is trail mix and Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, and it will give you the energy you need for that long run. When it comes to trail mix, choose one that has a high concentration of nuts and dried fruit. Try to avoid the chocolaty and overly salty kinds, as they are filled with unhealthy simple carbs and high doses of sodium. These types of options are likely to give you a sugar crash or cause you to retain unwanted amounts of water during and after your workout.
Read before consuming
Make sure to read the contents and ingredients of something before you consume it. This is a good practice in general, but it especially applies before a workout. While many protein bars claim to optimize your workout, not all of them actually do. In fact, many of them are highly-processed foods, high in simple sugar, and therefore, your energy will diminish quickly.
These are basically candy bars in disguise. When looking for a good protein bar, consider one that is higher than 200 calories and has at least 5 grams of protein. In addition, if you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize the ingredients in something, chances are it isn’t good for you.
Try a smoothie mixed with fruit instead. Or, especially if you are working out in the morning, oatmeal mixed with fruit is a great alternative to the elusive protein bar. Just like protein bars, energy drinks can also be misleading. Drinks that claim to replenish your electrolytes are often also loaded with sugar. Make sure to read the contents before consuming these as well. As an alternative, try a protein milkshake.
Timing is everything
Timing your pre-workout meal is just as important as choosing what to eat. And, your timing and the amount you consume has everything to do with the length of your workout. If you only plan to exercise for a half hour, you only need to consume a small portion.
Eating a huge meal right before your short workout will make you feel sluggish. If you plan to exercise for just a short stint, try snacking on string cheese mixed with some multi grain crackers. This will provide you with just the right amount of energy. On the other hand, if you plan to exercise for a prolonged period of time, you might try a more substantial meal that will help you get through the workout.
In keeping with balancing carbs with protein, try a turkey or chicken sandwich for a longer workout. This will give you the energy and the protein you need to sustain you. If you are more adventurous, try several hard-boiled eggs, take out the yolk, and replace it with hummus.