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Everybody feels as if they can conquer anything after a good workout session at home or at the gym. The release of endorphins helps relieve stress, anxiety, pressure and all such things which are more mental things than physical ones. However, to have a great workout session you need to fuel your body properly and for that it is necessary to eat some healthy food before workout.
Obviously, there are some rules associated with time, quantity and the food items to eat before hitting the workout session. This article will tell you all you need to know about pre-workout foods, and we will also see the Top 10 Pre-Workout Foods.
Why is pre-workout food necessary?
Your body does need energy to carry out day-to-day activities and food is the source of all the energy. A normal human being who doesn’t work out can get away with normal meals and food items, that’s because his body doesn’t need the extra amount of energy.
However, a person who workouts every day does need that extra energy. Ultimately workout is an extra effort other than normal activities that we put in to make ourselves healthier and fitter. Thus, to have that extra effort, you need extra food which is nothing but pre-workout food.
General rules to have pre-workout food
Obviously, you cannot eat anything for any amount as pre-workout food. There are a lot of considerations while deciding the same, permutations and combinations do come into the picture, The daily schedule of a person and many such factors make this aspect multifaceted.
But we will try to keep things simple. Generally, when there will be around 3-4 hours between your last full meal and workout session, the last full meal will itself serve as a pre-workout food, no need for any special pre-workout food. But if there are more than 3-4 hours between the last meal and workout session, you need to have a dedicated pre-workout meal.
The amount of a pre-workout meal may vary from person to person. The thumb rule is your belly shouldn’t be full but must have enough food to provide you the energy.
Try to avoid all fried and oily food items with fat and sugar content.
Go for food which is rich in protein and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates give you energy while protein helps in muscle building and overall recovery of the body after the workout.
The Benefits of Eating Pre-Workout Foods
- Gives the body enough energy to carry out the workout.
- Gives you the necessary nutrients.
- The added nutrients enhance the workout performance.
- Helps in muscle strengthening.
- Prevents injuries and helps in faster recovery from the injuries.
Following are the top 10 foods to eat before workout
|Nuts and dry fruits
|Milkshakes or fruit juice
|Protein shakes or protein powders
|Mix of mung beans, harbhara (Chickpeas) and mataki (moth beans)
Banana is the best pre-workout meal you can ever have. Bananas are rich in carbohydrates and protein. Interestingly, it contains very negligible fat content. So, bananas are ideal for anyone who wants a quick, easy and cheap pre-workout meal. Bananas are also a great option for post-workout food. Consuming bananas around 15-30 minutes before the workout is an ideal option.
Milk is the basic food item that everyone should consume. Whether you perform a daily workout or not, milk should be a compulsory food item in your daily food intake. Milk is rich in vitamins, minerals and especially calcium which strengthens our bones. As a pre-workout meal, milk can substitute all the below-mentioned food items. It not only fills your belly but also gives you a good amount of energy. Do not add sugar to the milk. Try to have plain milk.
Peanut butter is healthy and tasty at the same time. Peanut butters are now easily available in the market. The various flavor options do make it extremely delicious. Peanut butter is a rich source of protein. Two tablespoons of peanut butter just 15 minutes before the workout is good.
Oats or oatmeal have been the go-to pre-workout food for many. Oats have a high percentage of carbohydrates. They are rich in protein and other nutrients. A bowl of oatmeal as a pre-workout snack will provide the required energy for the workout session.
Nuts and dry fruits
Perhaps a tad costly food item, but healthier, tastier and easy to eat nonetheless. A handful of almonds, cashews, black resins and other such items can be a great option for pre-workout food. They are ready to eat and you can take them anywhere you want.
Protein bar is quite similar to peanut butter as it is ready-to-eat, though it has much higher values of protein. Also, it is very easy to carry a protein bar with you, unlike the peanut butter which comes in a jar or bottle. It is recommended to have other pre-workout foods along with a protein bar as a single protein bar will not provide you the sufficient energy to carry out the intense workout.
Milkshakes or fruit juice
These are perhaps the tastiest options on this list. Fruit juice obviously has milk in it plus the added advantages of fruits. Yes, these are slightly difficult to make if you are at home or an expensive item to have if you don’t want to prepare it on your own. Anyways a milkshake or fruit juice is an excellent option for a pre-workout drink.
Protein shakes or protein powders
Protein shakes or protein powders are the most expensive food items available on this list. It is recommended to consume these only if you are working out professionally with a certain aim in the sports or fitness industry. The one who workouts while managing an office or college does not need the amount of protein that is present in the protein shakes or protein powders. So only go for it if you are a professional athlete or sportsperson.
Mix of mung beans, harbhara (Chickpeas) and mataki (moth beans)
This is a very desi food item you can have as a pre-workout food. Soak mung beans, harbhara (Chickpeas) and mataki (moth beans) each handful of amounts in water and keep it in the water overnight. Around 15 minutes before the workout, mix all these items and add a bit of salt to make it tastier. You can prepare a mixture that can suffice a week’s workout. Do not forget to store it in the refrigerator.
Just like bananas, apples are also a great source of carbohydrates. Apple will quickly provide the energy you want for the workout. Try to consume an apple about 30 minutes before the workout. Well, for some, apples may cause bloating as they contain fibers. So, understand your body first and then go for the apple as a pre-workout food.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As a general guideline, you should eat a solid meal 3 to 4 hours before exercise, a snack or a high-carb energy drink 1 to 2 hours before exercise, and a replacement drink with carbs and protein within 1 hour after exercise.
You should drink around 16 ounces (two cups) of water about two hours before a workout, and sip water every 15 to 20 minutes during and after a workout. You should also replace any body weight lost during exercise with an equal amount of fluids within six hours of exercise.
Generally, you should aim for a snack that provides about 200-300 calories and contains a mix of carbohydrates and protein.
Pre-workout food is not necessary, but it can be beneficial for some people depending on their goals, preferences, and tolerance. Eating before a workout can provide you with energy, prevent hunger, and support muscle growth and recovery.