This is a guest post… 🙂
Whether doing cardio, lifting weights, or some combination of the two, it is essential that you have food pre-workout. It will help ensure you don’t crash during your workout from lack of food, and when done right, will actually give you more energy during your exercise routine.
What you eat is extremely important — the wrong choice will make you sluggish, weigh you down, and ruin your workout. In general, keep fat intake to a minimum before hitting the gym. Instead, choose “slow-burning” complex carbohydrates which will give you energy throughout your workout, and throw some protein in there too for muscle building. Drink at least 20 ounces of water before a workout to keep you hydrated, and ingest fluids during and after your workout as well so you don’t get dehydrated. Don’t eat a big meal before a workout: it takes 3-4 hours to digest 1,000+ calories, and it will just slow you down. Instead, have these energy-boosting workout foods as a small snack up to an hour before pumping iron.
• Bananas: The old wives tale goes that if you were stuck on a desert island with nothing else to eat, bananas would give you all the nutrition you would need. That’s not entirely true, but for a workout, they’ll get you on the right track. Bananas and similar fruits like apples and grapes are very digestible carbohydrates, but what sets bananas apart is that they are chock full of potassium. Potassium encourages proper nerve and muscle function, but your body doesn’t store it for that long. Give yourself a potassium and energy boost by having a banana before a workout.
• Yogurt: Believe it or not, yogurt is a food serious weightlifters should make a staple of their pre-workout routines, as well as cardio enthusiasts. Yogurt is a good source of magnesium, which stimulates enzymes that increase your metabolism for proteins and carbs. Eat this in conjunction with some nuts or oats, which are good sources of both, and you’ll get a serious energy boost, perfect for hitting the weight room or putting in some time on the treadmill.
• Pasta: Pasta is still one of the best sources for complex carbs, which are essential to having a good workout. It will help increase your storage of glycogen, which is energy in your muscles, so you’ll be able to work out longer without crashing. Stick to whole wheat pasta for the healthiest option.
• Lentils: Small portions of lentils are basically the best choice for an energy-boosting workout food. They’re full of carbs, protein, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium, and are very low in fat and calories. Just stick with small portions — it can make some people gassy.
• Energy bars: Personally, I’d stay away from processed foods, but when you’re on the go sometimes all you have time for is an energy bar. They’re not a terrible option, and the best ones are built with a nice balance of energy-boosting nutrients. Stick to ones that are more carb-heavy rather than ones overloaded with protein.