16 Best Pre Workout Foods
Do you often feel tired and low energy while working out? Do you want to up your workout performance?
The answer to all these questions is to eat healthy, power-packed food before working out. Pre workout foods are as important as breakfast. It is that one of the things that help fitness enthusiasts and athletes improve their performance. Moreover, nutritional food also enables your body to recover faster after your workouts. The pre workout foods minimize muscle damage in addition to maximizing your workout productivity (1). Let us read about the best workout foods in this post.
Why it is essential to eat pre workout?
Our body needs good nutrition to perform better and recover faster post-workout. Eating a proper meal 1 hour to 30 mins prior to the workout ensures maximizes fat burn and prevents muscle wasting. Without optimal nutrition, you will never get a good result.
However, it is important to eat a healthy and optimum amount of pre-workout food so that you don’t feel uneasy while you exercise.
How to Select a Pre Workout Food?
It is essential to fuel yourself with the right nutrients to ensure your body gets an ample supply of energy to keep you exercising efficiently in extended sessions.
Each macro-nutrient performs a specific role before your workout. However, it depends on your exercise and your physique to determine what ratio of those macro-nutrients you will need (2)(3). The pre-workout foods should be rich in protein, dietary Fat, and Carbohydrates. Additionally, supplements such as creatine, caffeine, BCAAs, and beta-alanine are also necessary before a workout.
Different kinds of workout require a different kind of pre-workout meal.
For short and high-intensity workout, the main source of energy for your muscles is glycogen. Glycogen is not stored by our body and we get it by including carbs in our diet.
Fat is the main source of energy for longer and moderate to low-intensity workouts. Whereas protein intake before workout improves muscle protein synthesis and promotes recovery.
Pre Workout Foods
Bananas are exceedingly rich in potassium, simple carbohydrates and natural sugars. The potassium helps your body in maintaining its muscle and nerve function. Eating this food before a workout increases blood sugar levels and boosts your glycogen stores. Also, it helps your body recover 50% faster after exercise (4).
Additionally, Bananas benefit your body by increasing the production of dopamine in your brain. This results in an improved antioxidant capacity and thus enables your body to combat the harmful effects of free radicals. Banana is one of the best pre workout foods (5).
As the body doesn’t store potassium for long, therefore, it is recommended to consume banana about 30-60 minutes before starting your workout.
There is a reason why most of the athletes and fitness seeking individuals consume this pre-workout food regularly. Chicken meal is excessively rich in lean protein. It provides your body with various amino acids to boost muscle anabolism (6).
A meal that includes chicken, brown rice, and sweet potatoes increases your energy and endurance by being a great meal containing all the essential carbohydrates. Consuming a meal, that includes chicken, 2-3 hours before a workout allows it to act as a slow-releasing source of energy during your exercise (8). It is a good food to lose weight and hence is a part of the Indian diet chart for weight loss.
3. Boiled Egg
Boiled eggs are an excellent source of bioavailable protein. Thus the protein gets absorbed in the body quite easily. One hard-boiled egg contains 6.3 g of protein, 78 calories and 5.3 g of fat. Moreover, one boiled egg contains 0.5 g of leucine and 1.3 g of BCAAs. The yolk of a boiled egg has a significant portion of the total protein, so it is important to eat both the yolk and the white albumen (9) (10).
Boiled eggs contain fats, cholesterol and saturated fat in a suitable amount. Besides, it is low in calories and rich in nutrients such as vitamins, and minerals. Boiled eggs must be consumed almost 2 hours before your workout starts.
4. Dry fruits
Dry fruits are enriched with calories and sugar content. Due to this reason, they are often avoided during dieting. However, this also makes them a perfect pre-workout food. These snacks are packed with easily digestible proteins and carbohydrates to provide instant energy. Moreover, they are also rich in antioxidants and fiber content. Eat them before almost one hour before a workout.
Yogurt is a nice blend of essential nutrients like carbs, high-quality protein, good fats, calcium and vitamins. It is best to consume yogurt before 30 mins of your workout. Combining them both in a meal provides you with the essential energy while preventing your muscle damage. Yogurt helps in burning fat, increasing muscle mass and supports recovery.
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Omelets containing both the egg white and the egg yolk are an excellent source of amino acids and muscle-building protein. You can also include a slice of bread if your workout involves more cardio. Omelets are rich in bioavailable protein which means that this protein has the highest ability to be utilized by the body.
Sprinkle your omelets with some veggies such as mushrooms, onions, and capsicums before heading out to your weight training.
Omelets can support your workouts efficiently by avoiding catabolism and increasing muscle growth. You should consume them 2-3 hours before a workout.
The popularity of an oatmeal is increasing as an important food before workouts. Oats are a good source of fiber. It means that they possess the extended-release property and therefore, release carbohydrates into the bloodstream gradually. This keeps your body energy at consistent levels throughout your workout.
Moreover, oats are also rich in B vitamins. They provide you with a boosted stamina by helping convert carbohydrates into energy. Oats work great for the individual who is habited to exercise in the mornings.
You can eat oatmeal within 2 hours before your workout for an effective result.
8. Fresh Smoothies
Smoothies are a favorite food for most of the people. They are great in taste and are super healthy too. Fresh smoothies not only provide an array of micronutrients that are essential for well-being and good health but are also excessively rich in sugars including fructose.
What this means is, that the fresh smoothies contain a high number of calories and are actually a meal replacement rather than merely the drinks. Consuming freshly prepared smoothies 30 mins before a workout provides you with glucose which releases the energy instantly. Thus, smoothies offer much-needed nutrients and efficiently complement a demanding workout.
9. Bread and Peanut Butter
A slice or two of whole-grain bread fulfills the carbohydrate needs of your body. It is a great source of complex carbohydrates which means it will gradually release the energy that would help you last longer in a workout.
On the other hand, peanut butter is a calorie-rich and nutrient-rich food that goes well with a slice of bread. It helps you in bulking up if you are attempting to gain muscles. It is one of the best pre-workout foods.
Bread together with peanut butter should be ingested 2 hours before hitting the gym. It can be consumed by all the physically active individuals, especially those you carry out endurance activities such as running and cycling.
The white (long-grain) and brown varieties of rice are an excellent source of carbohydrates. They also contain small amounts of protein and almost lacking fat.
Brown rice is rich in fiber (1.8%), whereas white rice is low in fiber (0.3%). Brown rice has the edge over the white rice as they also contain various vitamins and minerals such as Manganese, Selenium, Thiamin, Niacin, Magnesium, and copper.
On top of that, brown rice is better with its complex carbohydrate content than the white rice. Thus, it backs you in your workout sessions for long by providing you with a constant energy.
Make sure that you eat your rice with dal(pulses) and desi ghee which makes the amino acid profile complete and helps your body to assimilate all the nutrients the better way.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are highly rich in antioxidants and complex carbohydrates. This fact makes it a part of the diet of many bodybuilders. The intake of sweet potatoes excellently assists those who like to do it intensely in the gym.
There is a good difference between the calories and the carbohydrates of sweet potatoes and white potatoes. Sweet potatoes, being low on both of them, assist the dieting bodybuilders in burning their fat.
With a lower glycemic index, sweet potatoes tend to maintain your energy levels throughout your harder workouts. Moreover, they are high in fiber content and help in appetite control. They also promote muscle build and maintain healthy digestion.
Apple is not the only fruit that makes for great pre-workout food, but it is one of the ways to identify the group. Apples are rich in pectin which controls the fat absorption by your body cells. Thus, it helps the bodybuilders who are dieting to keep their weight in control.
This water-rich fruit contains a large number of soluble fiber and antioxidants. Other than that, it keeps you full and eliminates the need to eat anything else. It is also essential to keep its intake in the limit as it is high in natural sugar and can result in insulin spikes in your body.
12. Peanut Jaggery Bar
Peanut jaggery bars are not only rich in all the required nutrients but are also easier to carry. Moreover, you can control its content (if home-made) and make it rich in protein and carbohydrates or rich in protein and low in carbohydrates.
13. Protein Shake
If you are in a hurry and none of the above seems good to you, a protein shake can quickly be your workout pal. You can combine your shake with simple carbohydrates such as maltodextrin powder or the fast releasing whey protein to get all the nutrients required for a workout in a snap.
Avocado is a superfood which has a high nutritional profile. It contains more potassium than a banana. Besides this, it is high in monosaturated healthy fats along with essential carbs and protein. All these healthy nutrients help to boost performance during a workout.
15. Whole-grain Cereal with Milk
Whole-grain cereal with milk is a perfect blend of complex carbs along with protein and calcium. It is a comple meal which consists of all macro and micronutrients. Consume it before 2 hours of your workout.
16. Whey Protein
Consumption of whey protein shake along with fresh fruits 2 hours prior to workout is helpful in boosting workout performance. Whey proteins contain all essentials like creatinine, BCAAs.
For a maximized performance and recovery, it is necessary to fuel up your body before a workout with the essential nutrients. Carbohydrates boost your body’s glycogen-utilizing capabilities to help with your exercises ranging from low to high intensity.
Moreover, fats help you work out for a longer duration and protein prevents your muscle damage and promotes your recovery. Also keeping your body hydrated enables you to enhance your performance. Choose these pre-workout foods that can be digested easily and at the same time aid your performance and recovery.