Pre Workout Meals: What To Eat Before a Workout
We will talk more about the best pre-workout meal that is most suitable for you, and you will also gain some insights and ideas on what to eat before a workout. Most of us have our own pre-workout habits that we follow every day, and some of them are really helpful in boosting our workout performance. If we eat the right food before a workout, we can maximize our potential to increase our muscle mass and lose weight.
Some people are more comfortable eating after their workout. Others prefer exercising on an empty stomach, while there are also others who prefer eating before their workout routine, especially in the morning. Experts say that it all depends on the person, but everyone seems to agree that you need the energy to continue exercising. Without fuel and energy, you wouldn’t last an hour, especially if your workout routine is more intense. However, eating too much before your workout can make you sick because the blood flow would be concentrated on your midsection and stomach area. So there has to be a balance, and you have to choose what to eat before a workout.
You have to remember that finding the right pre-workout meal and its quantity will take some trial and error. Keep in mind that whether you eat before a workout or not, you have to make smart food choices after exercising. You need protein for building your muscles and carbohydrates for the energy stores in your muscles. When it comes to weight loss and exercise, what works for one person may not be ideal for the other person, but it still boils down to calories intake versus calories burned.
Knowing What To Eat Before Workout
Getting the right nutrition every day is essential to maintaining your overall health, but it is also important to get it before your workout. You need the three macronutrients, which are protein, carbs, and fats, to give you enough energy and strength when preparing your body for an intense workout.
Studies have been made regarding the benefits of pre-workout protein consumption for the improvement of athletic performance. The results show that there is a significant increase in muscle protein synthesis. Consuming protein foods before a workout helps in muscle growth, improves muscle recovery, and boost muscle performance.
Read More – 25 Health Benefits of Eating More Protein Foods
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Carbohydrate-rich foods are essential in giving fuel for your intense workout. The glucose found in carbs is used by your muscles as fuel. Studies have shown that carbs can increase glycogen stores and its utilization. It can also boost carb oxidation during your workout.
If your workout routine involves longer and low-to-moderate intensity exercise, then fats become your main source of fuel. A diet containing healthy fats is important to give you more energy and fuel for your daily workout routine.
When To Eat Your Pre Workout Meal
The timing of your pre-workout meal is important in order to maximize the result of your training. You should eat a complete meal containing carbs, proteins, and fats, two to three hours before your exercise.
For those who have busier schedules and don’t have enough time, you can still eat a pre-workout meal one hour before your exercise. However, it should be a small and simple meal. Choose foods that are easier to digest and contains more carbs and some protein to prevent any stomach discomfort during your workout.
The Best Pre Workout Meals for Bodybuilding
These are the best pre-workout foods that can provide a healthy stream of energy during your intense and strenuous exercise. Most of these pre-workout meals are a combination of carbs and protein, which your body needs to boost your training performance.
Bananas are very rich in natural sugars and carbohydrates that can provide you with a steady supply of fuel for your workout. It also contains potassium, which can help maintain efficient muscle and nerve function. If you like to do your workout routine in the morning without eating breakfast, you should eat a banana 30 minutes before and after your workout. It is believed that banana can provide more energy than caffeine and it is a great way to increase your glycogen stores and blood sugar levels.
Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables
This is a complete pre-workout meal that consists of lean protein and complex carbohydrates. It can provide a huge dose of amino acids that promote muscle anabolism and the slow release of energy. This is the type of meal that you should consume two to three hours before your workout because it can be a bit heavy in the stomach.
Oats are highly known its rich fiber content that facilitates the steady release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. This process gives you a stable energy supply that you will need throughout your workout. You can also combine oatmeal and porridge for a more nutritious pre-workout meal. For oats and porridge, you should consume it two hours before your workout. This will satisfy your hunger throughout your workout and give you that slow release of energy for better workout performance. You can put protein powder on your porridge to give your meal a healthy dose of protein and amino acids.
Dried fruit is a great pre-workout food because it is high in sugar and calories that you need for energy. However, it should be consumed in carefully measured amounts for a quick source of simple sugar. If you want to get more protein, you can add Greek yogurt with your dried fruit to help boost your workout performance. Since this is just a light meal, you can consume it one hour before your workout.
Caffeine is known for giving you a quick jolt of energy, which can be very useful for your workout routine. It is an effective drink if you feel always feel tired when starting your workout. If you are preparing your pre-workout shake, you can add a couple of shots of espresso to pump up your adrenaline for your morning workout.
Fruit smoothies are often considered as a healthy drink, but they contain so much nutrition, sugars, and calories that they are also regarded as meal replacements. Fruit smoothies contain high-quality proteins and carbohydrates that are easy to digest, which can provide a steady stream of energy during your workout. They are also full of sugars and fructose, which is perfect for your workout because it can be a good source of fast acting glucose.
This is an easy pre-workout snack that you do not have to cook. If you want to put a little bit of taste to it, you can drizzle it with lemon juice. You can eat ¼ cup of chickpeas before your workout to give you complete nutrients for better muscle performance. A quarter cup of chickpeas will give you about 30 grams of carbs, 10 grams of protein, and 9 grams of fiber.
Omelette is mostly made up of whole eggs, which are a great source of muscle-building protein and amino acids. Since this is considered as a heavy meal, you should consume it 2 to 3 hours before your intense workout. This will help you avoid muscle catabolism and maximize your muscle growth. You can also add more delicious and healthy foods to your omelet to increase its nutritional value.
Whole Grain Bread, Brown Rice, and Sweet Potato
These three foods are very rich in complex carbohydrates that can be consumed before your workout. Since this belongs to the heavy meals, it should be consumed 2 to 3 hours before your workout. You should combine these carbs with a good protein source to get a good and steady release of energy that will keep you going throughout your workout. If you are doing endurance training, such as cycling, running, and swimming, then you should concentrate more on eating wholegrain bread, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and other foods rich in carbohydrates.
Apple and Peanut Butter
Apple wedges and peanut butter are a perfect pre-workout snack that will give you protein, natural sugar, good fats, and added fuel to your body. It is also very easy to prepare and you can take it to your gym. Plus, it is a favorite snack because of its delicious taste that is healthy and packed with nutrition.
A protein shake is a great option for those who have a busy lifestyle and always on the go. This is the choice of most people when they don’t have time to prepare their own pre-workout meal. This shake is not only delicious, but it provides fast releasing proteins and simple carbohydrates to give you that much-needed nutrients and energy in a matter of minutes.Read More – Muscle Building Protein Shakes Recipes
Greek yogurt is much preferred as a pre-workout food than plain yogurt because it is almost double the amount of protein. It also has half as much raw sugar as the usual regular yogurt. It is easy on the stomach, so you can eat it an hour before your workout routine. If you are not lactose intolerant and you need a quick energy boost before your workout, then Greek yogurt is a great choice for you.
Homemade Protein Bars
You can easily make your own homemade protein bars and bring it with you anywhere you go. Homemade is much better than the protein bars you can buy at the stores because you can control the ingredients and the amount of protein and carbohydrates. You can easily find some delicious and healthy homemade protein bar recipes on the internet.
Pre Workout Meal Recipes
If you are always questioning what to eat before a workout, then here are some delicious pre-workout recipe meals that you can prepare in your kitchen. They are a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats that your body needs during your intense exercise and workout routine.
1Avocado Toast with Cottage Cheese and Tomatoes
This is a complete pre-workout meal because it contains high levels of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. The star of this meal is the natural flavors of avocado and tomatoes. It is also fast and easy to prepare because it requires no cooking. It is an ideal pre-workout meal in the morning or mid-day.
- 8 slices of whole grain bread
- 2 cups cottage cheese low fat
- 1 ripe California avocado sliced
- 1 tomato sliced
- salt and cracked pepper to taste
Directions: Lay bread slices on a large cutting board and top each one with a ¼ cup of cottage cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top cottage cheese with avocado and tomato slices then season with another pinch of salt and pepper. Cut bread slices in half and serve. This makes 4 servings.
2Apple Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins
You will definitely have a big energy boost with this delicious apple oat Greek yogurt muffin. It gains its natural sweetness from the apple, and it is rich in fiber and proteins, which comes from the oats and yogurt.
- 1 cup or 120 grams of whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup or 80 grams of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup or 225 grams of plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup or 120 ml of unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup or 50 grams of brown sugar
- 1 medium-sized apple, peeled, cored, and grated
- 1/2 cup or 80 grams of raisins
Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a muffin pan by spraying each cavity with cooking spray or lining them with paper liners. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. Lightly whisk the egg in a separate bowl. Mix the yogurt, brown sugar, applesauce, vanilla, and grated apple, stirring until everything is well-combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them gently until just combined. Fold in the raisins. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups and fill them up almost to the top. You can add a sprinkle of oats if you want. Bake the muffins in the oven for 20-22 minutes, or until top is firm to the touch. You can also insert a toothpick into the center and it should come out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes before you transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze them for up to 3 months.
3No Mayonnaise Egg Salad with Apple and Avocado
Instead of using mayo, this recipe uses the rich creaminess of avocado with the sweetness of apples. This pre-workout meal gives you a lot of protein coming from the eggs and yogurt. If you’re interested in this recipe, just follow the directions below.
- 8 large eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
- 2 apples, cubed
- 1 avocado
- 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine avocado, eggs, and yogurt, and mash until blended. Add the cubed apples. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and blend. Serve cold over bread. Top off with a pinch of paprika if desired.
4Chia Cherry Crunch Bites Snack
This is another great pre-workout snack that you can munch on an hour before your daily exercise routine. If you’re feeling tired and heavy, this snack will give you a quick boost of energy. It has a delicious chocolate sweetness because of the cacao nibs and it also provides proteins and healthy fats. Here is the full recipe for this delicious pre-workout snack.
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- 1/4 cup cashew meal
- 1/4 cup pitted dates
- 1/4 cup vanilla whey protein powder
- 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup, divided dried tart cherries
- 2 tablespoons of almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
Directions: Combine the almonds, cashew meal, dates and protein powder in a blender or food processor. Process for about 30 seconds until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, except the cacao nibs and 1/4 cup of the dried cherries. Blend for about 1-2 minutes until well combined and a dough ball starts to loosely form. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Roughly chop the 1/4 cup of dried cherries and fold them along with the cacao nibs into the mixture. Roll into balls. It should be around the size of a golf ball. Put in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
5Chocolate Mint Avocado Pudding
If you like chocolate mint and working out, then you will definitely love to prepare this pre-workout chocolate mint avocado pudding. Its ingredients will make sure that you get enough energy to get you through your intense workout. If you want to increase its protein content, you can add a dairy yogurt.
- 1 avocado
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tablespoon yogurt, dairy-free
- ¼ Tsp cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 3 tbsp organic maple syrup
Directions: Place avocado in a blender and pulse until smooth. If you don’t have a blender, you can put the avocado in a bowl and mash it with a fork, removing all of the lumps. Add cocoa and cinnamon and mix with an electric mixer. Add the maple syrup, yogurt and peppermint extract. Mix all the ingredients together so that pudding is smooth. Place in two separate cups or one larger cup. Store in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight. Top with dairy-free whipped cream and serve.
6High Protein Oatmeal
Oatmeal is the ideal breakfast for many of us, but you can turn it into your delicious pre-workout meal by giving it a protein boost. Follow the recipe instruction below to fix yourself this high protein oatmeal.
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions: Combine all ingredients together in a pot. Put the pot on the stove and turn it to medium-high heat. Cook and stir frequently until mixture reaches the normal oatmeal consistency. Cooking time will take about 5 minutes.
7Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Greek Yogurt Waffle
This is a perfect pre-workout meal in the morning to get you going with full energy. You can eat this before and after your workout, and you can also store it in the freezer so you can eat it again the next day. Here is the recipe for this delicious morning meal and it makes 2 servings.
- 2 cups of old-fashioned oats, gluten-free if desired
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 medium ripe banana
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup 2% low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup strawberries, diced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: Preheat waffle iron and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add all ingredients, except strawberries, to a food processor, and process on high until well combined and smooth. Turn off the blender and gently fold in strawberries with a spatula. If you’re using a Belgian waffle iron, pour half of the batter into the waffle iron and cook until there is no more steam and waffles are golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside. Top with Greek yogurt, peanut butter, fruit, chia seeds and maple syrup. This recipe makes 2 large Belgian waffles.