5 Foods to Eat Before Exercising
Eating the right foods before exercising can make a big difference in your energy levels and how you feel during and after your workout. What you eat depends on when you’re working out and how intense your workout will be. Here are 5 food options to consider eating before exercising.
1. Complex Carbohydrates
If you’re planning to exercise first thing in the morning, then you’ll want to eat complex carbohydrates the night before. Complex carbs are slowly digested and will give you sustained energy throughout your workout. Good complex carbohydrate options include oatmeal, whole grain toast, quinoa, and sweet potatoes.
Protein is important for repairing and rebuilding muscles after a workout. If you’re lifting weights or doing any other type of resistance training, then you’ll want to have some protein before working out. Good protein options include lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, legumes, and eggs.
3. Simple Carbohydrates
If you’re doing a short and/or moderate intensity workout, then simple carbohydrates are a good option. Simple carbs are quickly digested and will give you a quick boost of energy. Good simple carbohydrate options include fruit, honey, and sports drinks. Avoid eating simple carbs if you’re doing a long or high intensity workout because you’ll crash soon after starting your workout.
Caffeine can give you a much-needed energy boost before working out. Just be careful not to overdo it – too much caffeine can cause anxiety and make it difficult to focus. A cup of coffee or tea is usually enough to get the job done without going overboard. Energy drinks are also an option but be sure to read the label carefully – some of them contain a lot of sugar which can offset the benefits of the caffeine buzz.5
5 . Water
It’s important to stay hydrated before, during, and after working out. Water is always the best option but if you find yourself getting bored with plain water, try adding some lemon or lime slices for flavor. You can also drink sparkling water or unsweetened iced tea for something different. Avoid sugary drinks like juice, soda, and sports drinks as they can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea when exercised on an empty stomach.
What you eat before exercising can make a big difference in your energy levels and how you feel during and after your workout. Choose complex carbohydrates for sustained energy, protein for muscle repair, simple carbohydrates for a quick boost of energy, caffeine for an extra pick-me-up, and water to stay hydrated. Experiment with different combinations of these foods to find what works best for you and always listen to your body – if something doesn’t sit well, don’t eat it!
What should I eat before exercising? Ideally, fuel up two hours before you exercise by:
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.
What should you not eat before a workout?
- Granola or Protein Bars. 1/12. These might seem like a good idea before you hit the gym, but there’s no clear definition of what they really are.
- High-Fiber Vegetables. 2/12.
- High-Fat Food. 3/12.
- Yogurt. 4/12.
- Smoothies. 5/12.
- Flaxseed. 6/12.
- Fast Food. 7/12.
- Energy Drinks. 8/12.
How can I boost my energy before a workout?
- Water. Water is the most important yet overlooked nutrient for athletes.
- Fresh Fruit Juice.
- English Muffin.
What foods make muscles grow?
- Eggs. Eggs contain high quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline ( 1 ).
- Salmon. Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health.
- Chicken breast.
- Greek yogurt.
- Lean beef.