Power Your Workout with These Foods!
If you want to get the most out of your workout, then you need to provide your body with the right nutrients. The fuel you give your body will help maximize your workout and the end results. Eating before a workout is especially crucial because it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which can get too low if you workout without any food (not to mention dizziness and nausea!).
To maximize effectiveness, eat an hour and a half before you plan on hitting up the gym and try one of these top 5 best pre-workout snacks!
Whole Wheat Toast, Peanut Butter and a Banana
Bananas are a great pre and post-workout snack because they’re packed with potassium and loaded with digestible carbohydrates. Potassium aids in maintaining nerve and muscle function and will help keep your nutrient levels high during a workout. Pair half a banana with a slice of 100% whole wheat bread, or Ezekiel, and natural peanut butter for a dose of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Two tablespoons of peanut butter is all you need to get in some healthy fats, as well as energy for your workout. Plus, peanut butter has a higher safisfaction value, which means that after consumption, you’ll stay fuller longer and won’t crave other foods.
Oatmeal with Almonds and Flaxseeds
Oats are full of fiber, carbohydrates, and B vitamins, which helps convert the carbohydrates into energy. Oatmeal also breaks down slowly, making the energy it gives your body last longer. It not only keeps you full, but also heats up your body’s metabolism. Oatmeal also contains calcium and heart healthy omega-3′s that help stabilize blood sugar, which is crucial during a tough workout. Try adding in some almonds and flaxseeds for healthy fats and extra fiber and a scoop of your favorite protein powder to kick up the protein content.
Berry Protein Shake
If you’re someone who works out bright and early and needs something quick before a workout, then a protein shake is your best bet. Throw all your nutrients, vitamins and proteins into a blender and you’ve got yourself a perfect pre-workout snack. Opt for one that’s packed with berries, your favorite protein powder, some non-or low fat frozen yogurt, banana and even some peanut butter. Try blueberries and raspberries for a powerhouse combination of antioxidants and a dose of natural sweetness. Instead of using milk as your base, try fat free or low fat frozen yogurt. It tends to make the smoothie creamier, with a boost of calcium. You could also use frozen coconut milk or soy based yogurt. Peanut butter is a great additive into a smoothie because you get a creamier texture and some added fiber. Adding in a scoop of your favorite protein powder will make your meal more nutritious and give you the protein needed to power through your workout, so that you minimize any protein damage or protein breakdown during your workout.
Whole Wheat Toast, Low Fat Cottage Cheese and Grapefruit
Whole Wheat toast is a great base for any pre-workout meal because of its high fiber content and carbohydrates. If you don’t like Ezekiel bread, make sure you’re buying 100% whole wheat. Many companies have their breads labeled as “whole-wheat” and “7-grain”, which isn’t 100% whole-wheat, but actually filled with other grains and many other ingredients that contain sugar. Cottage cheese is high in casein protein, which your body digests more slowly than any other type of protein, allowing for a steady stream of amino acids into your muscles. Eating half of a grapefruit is packed with vitamins, simple carbohydrates and phytonutrients that boost energy, as well as other benefits that can also aid in athletic performance.
Sometimes a good old-fashioned turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread is the best thing to consume before a workout, especially if you’re exercising during your lunch break or mid-day. Carbohydrates and protein are the perfect combination while filling your sandwich with healthy bites will only top it off. Add in heart healthy fats with a couple slices of avocado and low fat cheese. Top it off with a fiber filled apple and you have a complete meal that not only keeps you full, but also fuels your workout.
*Eat half if your workout falls within an hour range of consumption.
**Pre-workout foods should provide slowly released energy during your workout. Make sure you eat 1-2 hours prior to training. Carbohydrates and protein enhance physical performance and provide the essential amino acids that are necessary for recovering.
Photo Credit: Mary_Thompson via Flickr