Best Pre-Workout Foods

The foods you eat before a fat-burning cardio or weight training workout session impact your ability to handle strain, resist fatigue, concentrate, and recover. There are good ways to eat and also bad ones, so let’s start with the bad. Once those foods are out of the way, take a look at the best pre-workout foods.

Bad Food for Fitness

Unless you are an Olympic athlete working out five hours a day, there’s no excuse for consuming sugary items or refined junk to fuel a workout. That’s an excuse you are making to eat donuts and candy.

There is nothing wrong with these foods once in a while and constant self-denial only leads to binging. After working out, your body will probably use the fuel more effectively, especially if your regimen is punishing.

The important thing here is your attitude: be honest with yourself and your reasons for wanting junk. Providing energy is not a legitimate answer because your body only has a short window of time in which to use that sugar as fuel if it’s eaten prior to getting started. If it is not put to work instantly, this tasty simple carb will become your biggest enemy: fat.

Fatty foods are part of the enemy’s army too, particularly deep-fried dishes or rich desserts. A little bit of dairy is good for someone who can tolerate it and certain fats are excellent for muscles, but grease will only make you feel sick and dehydrated. Blood flow will be drawn to the stomach leaving you feeling dizzy and dropping your blood pressure. Stick with healthy fats as per the following outline.

Good Fat

Beginning with this food group, you would be surprised at how healthy a touch of fat can be. Don’t go overboard avoiding something so necessary for the development of a healthy nervous system. Choose lean options which provide the benefit of supplying protein too.

Great examples are avocado, lean meat and poultry, nuts, and seeds. Regular-fat yogurt actually contains very little fat in the grand scheme of things. For instance, thick plain yogurt with 6% fat only sounds rich when compared with 0% yogurt typically flavored with sugar or artificial sweetener and flavoring.

A dish of the first one is certainly healthier, especially with a quarter cup of fresh fruit or a spoonful of antioxidant-rich maple syrup on top. Choose a brand containing active bacteria to fortify your gut and absorb nutrients from food fully.

Good Protein

You have already read that deep fried foods are no help at all, so fried chicken should not be on the pre-workout menu. High fat cheese is also hard to digest and could cause a similar reaction, not good with 50-pound weights in your hand or possibly over your head.

Opt for easily-digested proteins like whey, eggs, and chicken. Some whole grains are also good sources which double as carb/energy providers, but where straight protein is concerned a workout shake could be a great option.

This is particularly true when your aim is body building rather than cardio. Protein contains acids which build muscle, enhance concentration, improve endurance, repair muscle cells, and prevent muscle from being used as energy.

Cardio Carbs

Runners, swimmers, and cyclists need more carbs than protein, so the best foods are complex, low in fat, and versatile. Add only natural sugars such as honey or agave syrup if you need to sweeten oats, or simply cook them in your preferred sort of milk (dairy, almond, or soy, for example).

A sprinkling of hemp seeds or a scoop of nut butter won’t hurt and supplies that little bit of protein you need, but remember to choose low fat meals which take little time to digest and don’t leave an athlete feeling sick.

A shake would probably cause an upset tummy, especially if there is a lot of jarring movement, though not so much with cycling, kayaking, or hiking. Bananas really are good news for athletes since they contain electrolytes which prevent muscle cramps.

Best Pre-Workout Foods
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Todd Stohrdahl

Todd Stohrdahl keeps a close eye on fitness topics and will never turn down an opportunity to play competitive sports. He’s a fierce competitor and brings his “hustle and muscle” mentality to our editorial team.