We all want to get the most out of a workout – to train harder, spin faster, run quicker, jump higher. And, while many of us prepare mentally for a challenging workout, we sometimes forget to fuel the engine or to do it properly. Pre-workout, there are certain foods that will help our bodies prepare, and which can maximize your efforts in the gym. While we all have different nutritional requirements, these known foods – which are the perfect balance of fats, carbs, and protein – can fuel your body, stave off hunger, fight fatigue, and even aid recovery. So, are you ready to munch your way to success?
Known as nature’s power bar, bananas are packed with carbohydrates and potassium, which supports nerve and muscle function.
Because they are full of fiber, oats release carbohydrates gradually. Due to this slow release, energy levels are kept consistent throughout your workout, meaning you can train harder for longer. They also contain Vitamin B, which helps convert carbohydrates into energy. Irish oats are often considered the best, as they are the least processed type and boast a lower glycemic load than quick-cooking and instant oats. So, keep a look out1 the next time you go shopping.
• Grilled Chicken, Broccoli And Sweet Potato
If you are working on building muscle mass or plan to hit circuit training hard, then this combo is a must-try. Although it is more of a meal than a snack, there’s a reason pro-athletes chow down on this regularly – and we think it’s time you gave it a go.
• Dried Fruit
For a quick and easy pre-workout snack, fix yourself some dried berries, apricots, figs, and pineapple. Dried fruits are a good source of simple carbohydrates that are easily digestible – so grab a handful.
• Whole Grain Bread
One slice of whole grain bread is an excellent source of carbs. Add some hard-boiled eggs for a protein-packed snack, or some low-fat turkey.
• Fruit And Greek Yogurt
This is a killer combo. The fruit is full of carbohydrates while Greek yogurt packs a protein-filled punch. Compared to regular yoghurt, Greek yoghurt has almost double the protein, fewer carbs and half the sodium. Why do they go together? The carbs in the fruit break down quickly and are used as fuel during your workout, while the protein is stored a little longer and is used to prevent muscle damage, so it really is a perfect pairing.
• Trail Mix
Nuts do have a high fat content, but they provide the protein and calories required if you are trying to gain muscle mass. For those whose goal is weight loss, steer clear. If you want to buy pre-prepared trail mix from supermarkets, skip the ones containing chocolate or yoghurt -coated nuts.
Make sure you eat your meal and snack 30-90 minutes before you work out, so you don’t feel bloated. If eating a larger meal, wait the full 90 minutes, but if you’re sticking with a snack, 30 minutes should be fine.