Building up your energy to prepare for a workout can be tough. Do you chug a protein shake or eat a good breakfast? In reality, it depends on the type of workout you’re doing. In general though, some foods are better as pre-workout snacks than others. You’ll want to pick the best energy-boosting foods for better workouts and overall fitness.
Here are the nutrients you should focus on eating before your workout, and the best pre-workout foods to boost your energy for better performance.
More specifically, what they call “simple” carbohydrates, which are carbs that break down faster in your body and almost immediately raise your blood sugar. Simple carbs are best for shorter or lower-intensity workouts where you need to use a lot of energy in less time. “Complex” carbs break down more slowly, which is good for higher intensity workouts or longer periods of exercise, but that also means the energy takes longer to get into your system.
Best simple carb foods: Strawberries, blueberries, apples, cantaloupe
The last thing you want is to start cramping up during a workout. While potassium is even more important after an intense workout, foods that have a lot of potassium also happen to have a lot of energy in the form of carbs and protein. Anything you can do to prevent injury and inconvenience can’t hurt.
Best potassium foods: Bananas, oranges, mashed avocado
Fiber’s great for a lot of biological functions, but it’s the perfect pre-workout energy booster because it breaks down and releases energy slowly (remember “complex” carbs?). If you’re planning to do some intense lifting later, or you’re going to do something high-endurance like running a long distance, grab a snack high in fiber to help those carbs last longer.
Best fiber foods: Oats and oatmeal, whole grain toast, a handful of nuts
AVOID FATTY FOODS
Fat is an important energy source, but not one that gets into your bloodstream very quickly. If you’ve ever eaten a fatty meal and felt sluggish and bloated afterward, you can probably guess why it’s a bad idea before a workout. Focus on loading up on simple carbs and foods high in potassium and fiber before you work out, and enjoy your fats and complex carbs later.
Foods to avoid before a workout: Bacon, milkshakes, yogurt, cheese, fast food
The hours before your workout, and the foods you eat in preparation, are your key to ultimate workout success. Get into the habit of eating the right foods, and you’ll have a much better training experience and make progress toward your fitness goals in no time.