Pre-workout meals will help you to have the strength and stamina to get through a tough session. But it’s not about ANY food, it’s about the RIGHT food for health, fitness and success.
Exercise is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. It helps you to maintain a healthy weight. It reduces your blood pressure and your risks of developing heart disease and high blood pressure.
It can help to improve your posture and get a good night’s sleep. Regular exercise is also great for your mental health, your skin, your stamina and your confidence.
There are so many benefits to working out regularly, and once you get into a routine, it can be a fun part of your life.
To be at its most effective, exercise should be teamed with a healthy diet. Many people make the mistake of thinking that because they are working out and burning more calories, they can eat what they want without having to worry.
To an extent, this is true. If you are burning more calories, you can eat more without gaining weight. But, a healthy lifestyle isn’t all about your weight.
Excess fat and sugar in your diet can lead to health issues, even if your weight is in the healthy range.
That’s why what you eat before your workout is crucial. While you’ll probably manage a short run or yoga session before breakfast on an empty stomach, anything more intense, and you’ll need to eat pre-workout meals. However, the balance is tricky. Triathletes follow a triathlete diet and even more casual athletes should tailor what they eat to their exercise.
Overeat before you work out, and you’ll feel sick and sluggish. Not enough, and you may feel dizzy and faint. You’re also in danger of rushing home and binging on sweet snacks.
What you eat in your pre-workout meals is also important. You want plenty of protein to keep you going, but not too many low-quality carbs, that could make you feel tired and dull.
Here are a few meals that are perfect for before a workout. Meals that will boost your energy levels without filling you up too much or making you feel ill.
A Boosted Smoothie
Different smoothie, with some added protein powder, are fantastic pre-workout meals. Add plenty of fruit, like bananas and berries that are filled with protein and natural sugars which boost your energy levels.
Add some natural yoghurt and oats for slow release energy and extra calories, and mix with some low-fat almond milk. The best thing about a smoothie is that you can mix it quickly, and drink it on the way to the gym if you are short on time.
Porridge with Banana
Oats are great for before a workout, and to start your day generally. They release their energy slowly, and so keep you going for longer.
Bananas are filled with carbohydrates and potassium, which boost your muscle performance and energy. Bananas also make a great post-gym snack if you need a quick pick me up.
Whole Grain Toast
Whole grain toast is an excellent source of complex carbs. Add some peanut butter or a hard boiled egg for extra protein.
Grilled Chicken and Broccoli
Grilled chicken and broccoli are both filled with nutrients. You’ll get plenty of protein, iron, and vitamin C.
Add some sweet potato or brown rice if you need a more filling meal, but give it an hour before you exercise if you eat a more significant portion.
Fruit Salad and Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt has almost double the protein of standard yoghurt, while still being low fat and tasty. You’ll get carbs and energy from fresh fruit, banana and berries, and protein from the yoghurt.
If you need something a little more filling, add some dried fruit and a portion of nuts, some oats or a little granola. For an extra sweet twist, add a drizzle of honey.
Multigrain Cracker and Hummus
Multigrain crackers and hummus are both low fat and packed with lean protein. They taste good, they’ll keep you going, and together it’s an easy and quick snack that you can eat close to exercising without being too full.
Homemade hummus is a healthier alternative to store-bought and is super easy to make.
Whole Grain Pasta and steamed Veg
Steamed veg, like broccoli and carrots, keep their nutrients and crunch and taste great. Team them with wholegrain veg for some complex carbs, and add grilled chicken or sweet potatoes for a more filling meal.
Of course, what you eat before you workout will to an extent depend on the time of day. Just remember to keep it light, and to drink lots of water while you exercise.
A general rule to follow is to leave 30 minutes before exercise for something light like fruit or a smoothie. For a more substantial, more filling meal, leave at least an hour.