If you want to become and stay fit, you have to not only workout but also keep a close check on your diet: what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat.
Almost everyone knows the importance of post-workout meals but one that readily gets ignored (and shouldn’t) is pre-workout.
As food is an integral part of the workout, be it strength, speed, endurance building or weight reduction, it is crucial to eat properly to achieve overall desirable effects.
If you fail to do that, you end up with a lack of energy for workouts and daily tasks, the workout itself becomes ineffective, you start losing muscle tissue and fat burning slows down.
Never train on an empty stomach and also don’t eat a heavy meal shortly before you work out. The former causes fatigue, slower regeneration, body aches and lack of energy whereas the latter results in nausea and lack of energy for digestion.
Of course ‘When to Eat’ depends on the time, type and duration of the exercise so it varies from person to person and from activity to activity.
As for the best pre-workout meals, here’s a rule of thumb: always eat a balanced meal of complex carbohydrates, fats and wholesome proteins.
Following are some pre-workout meal ideas:
- 2 whole eggs, 2 white eggs, peppers, onions, low fat cheese with Oatmeal or Grapefruit.
- 6 ounces of grilled chicken with Yam and Asparagus.
- Oatmeal mixed with whey protein
Following are some of the foods that are suitable to be eaten 3-4 hours before you plan to exercise:
- Rice with vegetables and lean meat, which may either be fish or chicken
- Two slices of toast with peanut butter or cinnamon along with one banana
- Baked Potato with Baked Beans, coupled with cottage cheese and tuna
- Whole Wheat Pasta with low fat sauce
- Whole wheat bread with chicken or Turkey
Foods that you can eat one to two hours before the workout are:
- Hummus and wholegrain toast or vegetables
- Cereal or Porridge with a spoonful of peanut butter
- A fruit Smoothie
- Toast with a spread: jam, peanut butter, honey, along with one banana
- Fruits and Oats with Greek Yogurt
- Vegetable or Meat Omelet as well as either an egg white on its own or with yolk
- Dried Fruits and Whole Nuts
- Whole Wheat Toast and Eggs
Although Oats are high in fiber and hence not so ideal, if they’re eaten relatively early, they can provide an exception to the rule by causing a constant and steady release of energy from carbohydrates while simultaneously providing high Vitamin B content.
Whole Grain Bread are a great source of carbohydrates and since they have a low GI index, they release energy slowly, thus acting as a reliable energy source.
Bananas are the kind of carbohydrates that are easily digestible and come with lots of potassium and energy to help you power through your workout.
They provide an instant source of energy and when combined with foods that slowly release energy, you have the perfect combination that can help you have a long and intense workout.