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8 PreWorkout Meals To Maximize Results
Staying fit takes more than just a training plan. It takes knowing how to take good care of yourself while you train. Motivation and commitment can get you to the gym, but once you’re there you need energy to get through the workout. That’s where diet comes into play. It’s not enough just to exercise regularly. You have to eat right too. Eating healthy is a good start, but if you want to get the most out of your workout, you have to learn what your body needs most and when it needs it.
An excellent addition to a workout plan is a power smoothie. There’s a reason that the fancier gyms now provide smoothie bars. Smoothies are a great workout-enhancing snack. They’re an excellent source of the nutrients you need most to fuel up. The only hard part is choosing which power-packed smoothie to drink. If you’re making one at home, the possibilities are endless. Regardless, when selecting ingredients stick to smoothies packed with fruits and veggies for your pre-workout meal. Some smoothie shops have drinks specifically designed for certain types of workouts, so don’t be afraid to ask what recipe would be best for you. Save the more dessert-styled concoctions for after your workout or for your days off.
Another great addition to your exercise plan is banana on peanut butter toast. Bananas are loaded with easy-to-digest carbs, making them a great source of energy. In addition, they’re packed with potassium which aids in muscle function. Since potassium levels drop when you start to sweat. One medium banana before a workout can keep your nutrient levels where they need to be. Eat one banana about half an hour before working out and you’re sure to feel the benefits. Add banana to the top of some peanut butter toast for a pre-workout snack for some complex carbs.
Adding oatmeal with fruit to your diet not only tastes great but also contains fiber, which causes a steady release of carbs. You may have heard it’s not good to eat too much fiber before a workout and this is true, but oatmeal has just the right amount of fiber and shouldn’t cause any gas or discomfort. Carbs, of course, supply the energy needed to get through a workout. Oatmeal is also rich in beta-glucan, a type of fiber that slows down digestion and balances blood sugar. Whole oats are better than instant because they digest slower. Add some fruit like strawberries or blueberries on top to get an added boost from natural sugars.
For a light snack without tons of calories grab some trail mix. Find a mix that is heavy on nuts and dried fruit and steer clear of the ones with added chocolate. Dried fruits offer sugar for quick energy boosts without weighing you down. Nuts are high in workout-fueling protein too. However, since they’re also high in healthy fats, you’ll want to eat them in moderation. With trail mix, a little really does go a long way, so don’t over indulge. Trail mixes are great for longer, but lower intensity workouts like hiking, long-distance cycling and kayaking to name a few.
If you love carbs, then you should know they really are your best friend when it comes to pre-workout snacks. Whole grains offer easy to digest carbs that will keep you energized over a longer period of time. Wait about 30 minutes before starting your workout after eating whole grain snacks and enjoy the results. Try a whole grain bagel with peanut butter, whole grain toast topped with apple butter, or even some whole-grain waffles or pancakes with fruit on top for a yummy meal that will maximize your workout.
A snack that has recently become popular for many is Greek yogurt and fresh berries. This is a great snack to have before muscle building workouts. Greek yogurt is strained to remove the whey. This gives it a thicker consistency and a creamier taste. It also contains almost twice the protein of regular yogurt and a lot less sodium. Don’t be tempted to switch out for a high-sugar, dessert-flavored regular yogurt. Greek yogurt has more protein and adding a handful of blueberries, blackberries or strawberries to the top gives this snack the sugary boost you want with none of the negative side effects.
Something you may not have considered is that consuming caffeine before a workout gives you that extra boost and increases your stamina. A cup of coffee or tea can increase your heart rate and improve blood flow. Caffeine is a stimulant that helps mobilize your fat cells moving them through the bloodstream. In addition, caffeine has been shown to reduce muscle’s consumption of glycogen. Glycogen is energy that is stored up during exercise. Since caffeine slows the rate that your body consumes glycogen, it keeps you from feeling muscle fatigue. In addition, it may even reduce muscle pain if you drink two servings about 30 minutes before working out. Beware of caffeinated beverages high in sugar, however that may cause you to crash mid-workout.
Did you know that veggie omelets aren’t just for breakfast? An egg-white omelet with fresh vegetables makes a delicious and healthy pre-workout meal. Eggs are high in protein that can be used by the body throughout a workout. Eggs contain a complete amino acid profile, excellent if you are looking to build lean muscle. The yellow portion of the egg isn’t necessary, so stick to the whites only. Avoid using too much oil or butter or adding fatty breakfast meats. Instead, cook with light oil to avoid greasiness. Spinach, mushrooms and tomato add nutrients and great flavor. Add carbs with a side of whole wheat toast for a perfect blend of carbs and protein.
Something you may have never considered doing is eating sweet potatoes before a workout. It may sound hard to believe but sweet potatoes are a perfect food before a workout. Potatoes are packed with carbs, but sweet potatoes have some serious advantages above regular potatoes. Not only are they a wonderful source of carbs, but they have many secondary benefits as well. Sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index, meaning they digest slowly and help you to sustain your energy levels. Try a baked sweet potato topped with cottage cheese about 30-60 minutes before your workout.
Boosting your workout with the right foods can help you to maximize your results, but be sure to steer clear of foods that will weigh you down and hurt your workout. Avoid foods that are high in sugar. You may get a quick boost of energy, but the crash will ruin your workout. Energy drinks also contain high amounts of sugar, sure to make you crash. Finally, avoid overeating in general. A small meal 30-90 minutes before your workout works best.
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