What to Eat Before a Workout
It is very important to pay close attention to your nutrition before you work out, mid-workout and after your workout as an athlete, gym rat or even a sporadic gym goer. Whether you want to lose weight or build muscle, what you put into your body before you work out will go a long way in influencing the results of the workout. You need to have enough energy during your workout in order to develop the agility, endurance, strength, and flexibility you desire.
In this article, I will be explaining how the food you eat before your workout plays into the results you will gain.
Know What to Eat Before and After a Workout
Pre- and post-workout nutrition is important. It goes beyond simply eating to have energy. The nutrient value of what you eat matters a great deal. You can have effective workout sessions if you feed your body the appropriate nutrient before the workout begins. In doing so, you will be able to have enough strength for your workout.
Focusing on healthy eating practices, sports nutrition also focuses on carbohydrates. For instance, to increase their energy and performance, athletes training for endurance sports may increase the amount of carbohydrates in their diets in the days leading up to the event. Protein is yet another crucial component of sports nutrition for muscle growth and repair. Sports medicine often focus on the benefits of healthy nutrients in sports drinks and food for athletes.
Every macronutrient you consume before your workout has a specific role to play. I will briefly describe each macronutrient's function below:
Our bodies primarily use carbohydrates as an energy source. When consumed, carbs become blood glucose, which is then transported into our cells and used as fuel. Whatever is left of the blood glucose becomes glycogen; the glycogen is stored in your liver and your muscles and is also used for energy, especially during workouts and stressful activities.
With everything listed above, you should be able to deduce how vital carbs are to your pre-workout nutrition. The amount you should consume depends on your size and the intensity level of your workout.
You must ensure you have enough glycogen stored in your muscles before engaging in high-intensity and endurance workouts like spin class or marathon training. This is so you can exert the necessary energy for the particular exercise. You don’t need to have a high glycogen storage level if you plan on doing a low-intensity workout. Nevertheless, ensure you are appropriately fed before a workout cannot be overemphasized.
Have a meal rich in easy to digest carbs three to four hours before exercising and another snack rich in carbs 45 to 60 minutes before a high-intensity or endurance activity. This will guarantee that your glycogen stores and blood sugar levels are suitable for peak performance. For less demanding exercise, consuming a healthy breakfast a few hours before your workout may be sufficient to get you through without affecting your performance.
Caffeine has been demonstrated to enhance performance, increase power and strength, delay fatigue, and promote fat burning, among many other advantages. The peak effects of caffeine are felt 90 minutes after ingestion. It has been demonstrated to work, nevertheless, even when taken 15 to 60 minutes before activity.
Caffeine can be found in pre-workout vitamins and pills in addition to coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Not everyone likes the idea of drinking coffee before a workout, and for those people, I suggest Eat Your Coffee caffeinated snack bars. These snack bars are the very definition of good things come in small packages.
You can fuel your body before, during, and after your workout with these caffeinated bars. Using organic ingredients like nut butter and dates, the Eat Your Coffee caffeinated snack bars give you protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats in addition to having as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
These bars are the easiest and quickest ways to get a tremendous boost during your workout. They are vegan and include various flavors to tantalize your taste buds. Sounds good, right? Get yourself 3 different flavors to try for free. All you have to do is cover the shipping cost of 3 dollars.
Whatever kind of exercise you enjoy, protein is essential for good nutrition, especially lean protein. The main function of protein is to supply the building blocks needed for post-exercise muscle mass development and repair. In the past, it was recommended to consume more protein in the first hour or two following an exercise. However, recent studies back up the advantages of consuming protein in your pre-workout beverage or snack.
The International Society of Sports Medicine and Nutrition advocates letting each person decide whether to consume protein before or after a workout. However, as much as you prioritize carbs-based meals before your workout, you should prioritize adding protein to those meals or snacks. You can find protein in some sports drink.
Fat-free isn't always the best. Fat, the macronutrient with the highest calorie content, is a crucial energy source. However, it is probably not a good idea to eat it before you work out. As a result of their slow rate of digestion, fats take longer to break down and release their energy.
Fat stays in the stomach for a prolonged time due to slow digestion. This may result in stomach distress when exercising, which is unpleasant and may reduce exercise effectiveness. Healthy fat should be a part of a balanced diet and should be saved for after exercise, though little fat could be included in a pre-workout meal if there is enough time for digestion.
Meals you can Have Before Working Out
The type of workout, along with the intensity and workout timing will influence the type and quantity of pre-workout snack/food you eat. However, when you eat a mix of protein and carbs before you work out, your body will have enough energy to carry you through your workout. Below are some nutritious pre-workout food combinations you should try:
If You have 2 to 3 hours before your workout:
You can have brown rice with beef and broccoli
Bagels or pasta
Whole-grain bread avocado toast with an egg omelet
Fresh fruits like mangos and apples
Half a turkey sandwich
If You have less than 2 hours before your Workout:
You can have a protein smoothie (protein powder, mixed berries, banana, and low-fat milk is a good mix to use)
Eat Your Coffee caffeinated snack bars
Some oatmeal with almonds and banana slices and berries on it
Whole-wheat Sandwich with organic butter and dried fruit.
If you have less than an hour before your workout:
You can have Greek yogurt with half a banana
Eat Your Coffee Caffeinated Snack Bars: These caffeinated energy and protein bars are the quickest and easiest way to fuel your body right before a workout. They give you approximately a cup of coffee in that small packaging with protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, all from organic ingredients like dates and nut butter. You can be confident that these bars will provide you with the ideal stimulus you need to go hard in the gym.
One apple or orange.
Any of the above-listed pre-workout meals will do, you don’t have to eat it all at once. You can explore various nutrient combinations within various timings to find your ideal routine.
What to Eat Before a Morning Workout
Any food or supplement with low-fat protein will do just fine. But if you want to avoid stomach discomfort when you work out, a faster-digesting protein like BCAA supplement or whey protein is your best bet. Your main focus should be getting at least 2-3 grams of leucine (essential amino acids that helps with muscle growth). You should also pick meals or supplements low in fiber and carbs to increase your energy and decrease gastrointestinal discomfort during a workout. Below we will explore some food combinations that consider the nutrients mentioned above:
Lean deli meat wrap: wrap a low-fiber tortilla with 6–8 slices of your preferred lean deli meat.
Whey protein with Rice Cakes Icing: Mix water and one scoop of whey protein together until thick consistency forms and top it off with rice cakes.
Breakfast Sandwich: Toast a mini-bagel with scrambled egg whites and slices of Canadian bacon.
What to Eat Before a HIIT Workout
HIIT workouts are intense workouts. Your body will experience a lot of stress during a HIIT workout. Therefore, it needs to be properly fueled with the appropriate nutrients to get it through any HIIT training. So, eating before you do a HIIT workout is a no-brainer. A balanced diet of protein and complex carbs should be the main priority. This will enhance athletic performance, reduce muscle atrophy, and promote healthy recovery.
Unlike simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and break down. This means that they are a constant supply of energy for your body.
In smaller amounts, protein can greatly enhance your routine when taken before a workout. The goal is to have enough protein in your body to start mending and rebuilding your muscles immediately after you finish your workout.
Best Pre-Workout for Men
To get the most out of your workout, you will need top-notch pre-workout/dietary supplements to meet your body's needs for enhancing strength training, vitality, and muscle growth. The best pre-workout supplements will:
Give you an explosive and powerful burst of energy
Improve muscle fibers
Enhance your overall performance
Become more motivated and focused,
Expedite the recovery process
Below are some top-notch pre-workouts for men
Best Caffeinated Pre-Workout - Eat Your Coffee Caffeinated Energy Bar
Best for Bulking - Intensive Pre-Train
Best for Muscle Pumps: Stage ready by National Bodybuilding Co
Best for Weight Loss: LEAN by Transparent Labs
Best Pre-Workout for Women
Pre-workout supplements aren’t just for men, they can also help women intensify their exercise routines. The best pre-workout supplements listed below can help women increase energy during a workout, assist in the development of lean muscle, and enhance exercise performance and recovery.
Best for Caffeine Sensitive People: Eat Your Coffee Energy Bars - These coffee bars are natural, gluten-free, kosher and vegan.
Best Strength Training Pre-Workout: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout
Best Muscle Pump Pre-Workout: Pure Pump by Do Vitamins
Best Pre-Workout Meal for Muscle Gain
What you eat before a workout is important. Your pre-workout meal should ideally be had two hours before you go to the gym. This will give the nutrients ample time to enter your system and start working. Additionally, it will prevent any bloating or discomfort that may occur from eating too soon before exercising.
Protein Bar: A meal 30 minutes before exercise
The Eat Your Coffee protein bars are a great alternative if you don't have a lot of time before your workout. These bars are the best pre-workout fuel because they contain a good balance of carbs, additional protein, and many other nutrients to fuel your glycogen reserves.
Oatmeal and whey protein: Pre-workout meal morning
Oatmeal and whey protein are an efficient muscle-building combination. The two components work together to promote muscular growth.
Egg whites and toast: For weight loss
Without a question, egg whites are a fantastic source of protein and offer a quick and simple way to gain muscle. Daily consumption of egg whites can help you reduce body fat and build muscle.
Chicken and rice: Pre-workout meal bodybuilding
Rice is common in many cultures. Given that it's high in complex carbs, it's the ideal diet for anyone trying to gain muscle strength. It is a fantastic approach to increasing your intake of fiber and nutrients while still eating a substantial meal.
Protein smoothie with banana:
A protein smoothie with a banana is the best pre-workout meal for muscle growth. Natural-grade protein found in bananas aids in preventing muscle deterioration.
Best Pre-Workout Food for Women
Regardless of your exercise preference or technique, the right foods are guaranteed to improve performance. Eating any or a combination of the pre-workout food listed below will help you get significant results in your exercise routine.
Eat Your Coffee Caffeinated Energy bars
Banana and protein shake
Fruit and Greek yogurt
Brown rice, veggies, and chicken
Best Pre-Workout Food for Men
The best pre-workout food for men contains the perfect ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fats to improve athletic performance. Below are some nutritious meals you can enjoy before your workout.
Eat Your Coffee Caffeinated Energy bars
Berry and oatmeal
Grilled chicken, quinoa, and pumpkin
Pros and Cons of Caffeine Before Workout
Coffee provides a great caffeine boost, that's probably why it is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. However, drinking coffee before working out doesn’t work for everyone, although it may boost mental and physical performance. We all react differently to caffeine, which can have unfavorable side effects like upsetting your stomach, insomnia, anxiety, etc.
Pros of caffeine before working out
Because coffee contains caffeine, a lot of people drink coffee before working out to give them an energy boost. Numerous studies indicate that taking caffeine before exercising can:
Improve your cognitive function
Boost your physical performance
Increase your fat-burning potential
Cons of caffeine before working out
As good as caffeine is for boosting energy, caffeine is not without its cons. Below are some of the common cons of caffeine before a workout:
It can upset your stomach: An upset stomach is one of the most prevalent problems.
It can cause anxiety and insomnia: large caffeine intake may have unfavorable side effects like anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
It can cause caffeine toxicity: Caffeine toxicity, often known as a caffeine overdose, is a rare but dangerous side effect of excessive caffeine consumption.
It can cause digestion problems
It can affect your bladder function
It can cause rapid heartbeat and headaches
It can cause post-caffeine jitters and slump
The Best Pre-Workout Alternative to Coffee for Muscle Mass and Muscle Protein Synthesis
If you don’t enjoy caffeine, are allergic to it or just don’t like the taste but still want the energy boost, there are other pre-workout options to help you get the most out of your workouts. These options will increase your energy, focus, and alertness.
Eat Your Coffee Caffeinated Energy Bar
A single Eat Your Coffee Energy Bar contain an actual cup of coffee. Made from natural ingredients, the bars contain no artificial caffeine and are free of additives. Each bar is entirely organic, vegan, and gluten-free and is prepared with whole ingredients. The caffeinated bars are delicious and come in three flavors that taste exactly like some of your favorite coffee flavors. They are available in the flavors of Caramel Macchiato, Coconut Mocha, and Mocha Latte. The Eat Your Coffee Caffeinated Bars provide the right balance of carbs and protein to fuel your workouts without the usual jitters, anxiety and post-caffeine slumps that come with coffee.
We have iterated the many side effects that come with drinking coffee above, however, eating caffeine-filled bars will provide you with smooth energy without the negative side effects of caffeine.
It is good to know what to eat before a workout, whether you want to build lean body mass or look like The rock. Feeding your body adequate nutrients before a workout will give you peak performance and recovery.
Consuming fat will provide your body with enough nutrients for long workout sessions, and consuming carbs will use glycogen to help your body power through short exercises with high intensity, while consuming protein will improve your body’s muscle protein synthesis, prevent your muscle from deteriorating, and foster fast recovery. On the other hand, drinking water is also vital to peak exercise performance.
Let’s go over what we have learned so far. It is crucial to eat before a workout. Having a balanced meal hours before you workout is okay. However, if you have to workout out less than thirty minutes after you eat, it is better to have meals or a light snack you will easily digest. There are many supplements out there that will help you exercise better and reduce fatigue.