What should you eat before a workout
The six best foods to power you up.
The minute you decide to take a gym membership, the advice starts pouring in; “Work out on an empty stomach.” “Never go the gym hungry.” “Have a protein shake, nothing more!” Whichever side of the fence you’re currently on, it’s important that you know right away that fuelling up before a workout is crucial to get the best from your workout. It’s unthinkable to run a car on empty, so why should it be any different for your body? However, just as the quality of the fuel is vital so is what you eat pre-workout. Check out the six exercise-friendly foods that top Nykaa’s list.
# 1 Fresh fruits and veggies
# 2 Fuel up on Energy bars
This is the number one pre-workout food in more ways than one. Besides a host of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, fresh fruits and veggies have easily absorbable glucose to power workouts and fiber to keep blood sugars stable for hours as you run, sprint, dance, swim or lift weights. Don’t like ‘eating’ before a workout? Then just whip up a banana, beetroot and carrot in the blender and ‘drink’ your fuel. Always combine some veggies with the fruit of your choice because veggies take longer to get digested, keeping you feeling full for longer.
Energy bars have a bad rep. The reason is that many of them are loaded with sugars with little or no nutritional benefits. But a savvy athlete should know how to pick the right one. Nutritionists suggest that you look for one with less than 200 calories, with minimally added sugars and at least three grams of fiber and protein. Look for bars low in fat, particularly the saturated and ‘trans’ or ‘hydrogenated fat’ variety. In fact, good quality energy bars like Extend Delightful Bars are a great way to tank up on the go. No mess, no peeling and blending.
# 3 Protein packed mini meal
# 4 Thrive on fruit shakes
Prefer to skip breakfast? You’re setting yourself up for a binge later in the day. But grabbing just anything isn’t the way to go either. Eat a well-balanced breakfast, whether or not you plan to work out later. Ideally your breakfast should include complex carbs, healthy fats and lean protein. Examples: an egg white omelet or cheese and tomato whole wheat sandwich, brown poha with veggies and a sprinkling of nuts, nutty bran flakes with yogurt or just some paneer with a fruit.
The quickest way to fuel up is to glug down a fruit smoothie just before a gym session. Go seasonal as far as possible and pick out pulpy fruits like pears, bananas, kiwis, mangoes and strawberries. Throw in some yogurt or oats and flax seed for texture and added nutrition, and you have a winner on your hands. Don’t overdo the fiber though because it takes longer to digest and can make you feel bloated.
# 5 Oat pancake with honey or jam
# 6 Have a protein shake pre-workout
Before you reject this option, remember, oats and honey provide rapid energy release giving you a quick boost, but not enough for lasting satiety. Use oat flower and an egg to make a pancake and slather on some sweetness for the perfect amount of carb and protein you’ll need at the gym.
If you’re working out to tone up or lose weight, drinking a protein shake before weight training will help melt those pounds. A study at Syracuse University concluded that people who drank amino acids and carbs (protein shakes) prior to lifting weights had higher metabolic rates the next day compared to just eating carbs before working out. The protein lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, that slows down metabolism helping you burn fat faster.