Eating for Energy: What to Eat Before a Hard Workout
Working out is hard enough without having to worry about what to eat beforehand. What you eat before a workout can make or break your performance. You need energy to push through a tough workout, but you don’t want to feel sluggish or weighed down. So, what should you eat? We’ve got you covered.
Complex Carbs for Slow-Burning Energy
You need energy for a hard workout, but you don’t want an energy crash halfway through. That’s why complex carbs are the way to go. Complex carbs are digested more slowly than simple carbs, so they provide a sustained release of energy. Good complex carb sources include oatmeal, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, and brown rice.
Protein for Muscle Repair
Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. When you work out, you put stress on your muscles, which can lead to micro tears. Protein helps your body repair those tears, and it also helps build new muscle tissue. Good protein sources include lean meats, tofu, legumes, and nuts.
Healthy Fats for Joint Support
Healthy fats are important for many reasons, including joint support. When you exercise, your joints take a beating. Healthy fats help reduce inflammation and keep your joints lubricated so that they can withstand the impact of your workout. Good sources of healthy fats include avocados, olive oil, and fish oil supplements.
What you eat before a workout is just as important as what you eat after a workout. The right mix of complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats will give you the energy you need to power through a tough workout while also helping your body recover afterwards. So next time you’re wondering what to eat before hitting the gym, remember these three things: complex carbs for energy, protein for muscle repair, and healthy fats for joint support.
What should I eat before a hard workout? Ideally, fuel up two hours before you exercise by:
Hydrating with water. Eating healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain cereals (with low-fat or skim milk), whole-wheat toast, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, whole grain pasta, brown rice, fruits and vegetables.
Should I eat before an early morning workout? Eating before your morning workout isn’t necessary when you’re training for an hour, as your body has a store of carbohydrate called glycogen. This sits in your muscles and liver and can provide enough fuel for around 60-90 minutes of exercise.
Is it good to workout on an empty stomach in the morning? It’s often recommended that you work out first thing in the morning before eating breakfast, in what’s known as a fasted state. This is believed to help with weight loss. However, working out after eating may give you more energy and improve your performance.
How can I get energy before a morning workout?
Ideal pre-workout meals include:
- banana and peanut butter.
- oatmeal with almond milk and berries.
- Greek yogurt with apples.