Best Foods To Eat Before You Start Your Workout

It is important to fuel your body before you start a workout session. You should eat the right kinds of foods to perform at your best. If you do not eat or if you eat too much, you will experience some unpleasant effects that are not of any help to reaching your goals.

Why should you eat pre-workout?

Think of your body as like a car. If do not gas up before driving 100 miles, you will run out of fuel in the middle of your trip, and fail to get to your destination. So, if you want to be able to get through all of your exercise routines, you have to give your body fuel to be able to carry out everything that needs to be done and last until the end.

Below are the benefits of eating pre-workout:

  1. To feel more energized

Your body relies on the glycogen and the carbohydrates that come from your food for its energy. Thus, before starting your regimen, you should prepare the right kinds of foods to meet your body’s needs. Load up on whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat bread, bananas, and other healthy carb sources to supply your body with as much energy as it needs to keep you performing at your best throughout your routine.

  1. To prevent muscle damage

Every time you workout, your body expends more energy than usual. It will look for more energy sources to fuel it as you exercise. Because it is not provided any food pre-workout, it will look at other places in your body. Once it finds the amino acids stored in your muscles, it will start eating those up. However, it should not be doing that because these amino acids are there for keeping your muscles in good condition, and not for your body to use up during your workout. If this happens often, your muscles will start to deplete. Your body will enter a catabolic state, wherein efficient muscle development, growth, and recovery become difficult.

  1. To build muscle

Your muscles need protein to remain strong and healthy. If you eat lean meats and other good protein sources before you start exercising, you are helping your muscles form an anabolic environment that boosts their protein synthesis and revitalization.

When is the best time to eat pre-workout?

The best time to eat pre-workout varies person to person. You can eat a couple of hours or until about 30 minutes before you begin your workout session.

If you want to enjoy a bigger meal, something that contains about 500 calories, it is best to consume it around 2 to 3 hours before. This gives your body enough time to digest your food, and prevents you from feeling too full or heavy while you lift weights or run on a treadmill. If you are only consuming a sandwich, a piece of fruit, or some other light meals, you can do it half an hour prior.

What are examples of good pre-workout foods?

  1. Protein bar

If you do not have time to cook before going to the gym, you can go for a protein bar. It is made with oats and other ingredients that can give your body the proteins and carbohydrates it calls for to keep working effectively. With it, you can minimize the wear and tear on your muscles, and improve your body’s recuperating time.

  1. Bananas

Bananas are another quick and easy pre-workout food option. They are loaded with potassium and carbohydrates, so you have a good energy supply to use up throughout your entire workout session. They also have the ability to enhance your glycogen levels, and manage your blood sugar levels, so you are protected against diabetes. If you swab some peanut butter on it, you can avail of a bonus protein boost that should also be valuable to your body’s wellbeing.

  1. Wholegrain bread

Wholegrain bread is made up of complex carbohydrates that can ensure that you are at your peak physical shape as you go through your workouts. It is especially beneficial to those that engage in high intensity and endurance exercises, such as running, swimming, and cycling. It is recommended to be paired with a healthy protein source to get the most out of its benefits.

  1. Chicken and rice

Chicken and rice make up the ideal pre-workout meal. With chicken as your protein source, and rice as your carbohydrate source, your body can get two important compounds that it needs to give you a successful workout. It is best enjoyed about 2 to 3 hours before you exercise, so that you can avoid that feeling of fullness while you do your reps. For better results, you can add vegetables as a side dish, which introduces many more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to your body.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of amino acids and proteins that are essential in muscle-building. They can be prepared boiled, poached, or as an omelet, and consumed with other healthy food options, like kale or spinach, to take advantage of as many health benefits they offer as possible.

What are the dangers of not eating before a workout?

If you are not fueling your body enough before a workout, you are putting yourself at risk of the following:

  1. Lightheadedness or dizziness

If you do a highly physical activity while your stomach is empty, your blood sugar is very likely to drop, resulting to you feeling lightheaded or dizzy. You will feel like fainting, and not have the energy to go through such a tough workout.

  1. Injuries

If you are dizzy or feel like you are going to pass out anytime soon, you are prone to getting injured. You might suddenly fall to the ground, drop any weights you are lifting, trip on the treadmill, or miss a step.

  1. No progress

Without enough fuel, your body might break down your muscles and use them as food. As a result, you might not see any positive results, despite working out longer or performing more reps than before.

Robert Phillips
Robert Philips has been a nutrition and fitness expert for over 20 years, and has written for a number of popular publications. In addition to having a Master's Degree in nutritional science, he is also an active trainer at nationally renowned gyms and fitness centers.