Have you ever noticed that some days you barrel through your workout class and feel like a rock star while other days you are staring at your watch, begging for it to be over? The difference is usually what you ate beforehand. Your pre-workout meal provides the energy to fuel you and can make or break your workout.
About 70 percent of your pre-workout meal should come from carbohydrates. They are a short-term energy source and include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The rest should come from protein. Protein, including nuts, seeds, meat, fish and dairy, takes a little bit longer to break down, so it will give you longer-term energy and keep you from losing steam halfway through your workout.
Shoot to eat about 45 minutes prior to exercise. This will give your body enough time to digest and break the food down into the energy that you need. Everyone’s body is a little different, so it will take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Here are three pre-workout meals with the right balance of carbs and protein that will help get you started, and your body fueled for peak performance.
Toast with Almond Butter and Banana
1 piece of whole wheat toast
1 Tbsp almond butter
Spread the almond butter on the toast and top it with sliced bananas. For an on-the-go version, trade the toast for a whole wheat tortilla so you can wrap it up and take it with you.
Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit
½ cup plain cooked oats
½ cup fresh fruit
This is great for when you are working out first thing in the morning. If you find that you need a little something extra, consider adding ½ scoop vanilla protein powder or ¼ cup of walnuts for more long-term energy.
Green Tea Smoothie
½ cup unsweetened green tea
½ cup milk (non-dairy milk works, too)
½ cup frozen berries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Smoothies are easy to digest, portable and can be made in a matter of minutes which makes them a great option for when you are on-the go.
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Question: What’s your favorite pre-workout meal or snack?