Even if one is not performing a sport in order to compete, eating foods that boost energy before a workout means being able to delay fatigue. It allows one to push harder for better performance and also to recover faster from exhaustion.
- Exercise longer and at a higher intensity.
- Delay fatigue.
- Promote recovery.
- Help the body adapt to the stress while working out.
- Improve body composition and strength.
- Enhance concentration.
- Help maintain a healthy immune system.
- Reduce the risk of cramps and stomach aches.
Carbohydrate works as a fuel for muscles. The more stress one exerts on the muscles more carbs are needed to keep going. The importance of carbs when fueling up for a workout session is highly underestimated. It is assumed that when it comes to strength training, it’s all about protein.
Protein is important for muscle building and repair, but in order to lift weights carbohydrate is needed as a prime fuel. Foods high in carbohydrates, adequate in protein and moderate in fat form the best food choices prior to an exercise regimen.
It is preferred to keep the following points in mind while choosing a pre-workout meal:
- Rich in carbohydrate to increase muscle capability.
- Easy to digest.
- Liquid meal may be preferred over a whole meal.
- Small amounts of protein to be included as it helps build and repair muscle tissue. Adequate protein before exercising could help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.
- Low in fat and fiber to ensure optimal and easy digestion.
|Meal||Carbohydrate Source||Protein Source|
|Oats with fruit and nuts||Oats, fruits||Nuts|
|Brown rice with chicken||Rice||Chicken|
|Legumes with bread or rice||Bread / Rice||Legume|
|Bread with cheese||Bread||Cheese|
|Bread with egg||Bread||Egg|
|Toast with peanut butter and banana||Toast, banana||Peanut butter|
|Cheddar cheese with crackers and fruit||Crackers, fruit||Cheddar cheese|
|Curds / Yoghurt with fruit||Fruit||Curds / Yoghurt|
|Milk with fruit||Fruit||Milk|
|Handful of nuts and raisins||Raisins||Nuts|
|Soymilk with fruit||Fruit||Soymilk|
|Vegetable sandwich with yoghurt or milk||Bread||Yoghurt / Milk|
|Cottage cheese sandwich||Bread||Cottage cheese|
- Two to four cups of fluids three to four hours before a work out
- One to two cups of fluids one hour before a work out
Whether it is strength training or a run which lasts for no more than 45 minutes an ideal meal should be eaten three to four hours before the workout and a smaller snack should be consumed an hour before the session.
Squeezing a workout into a busy schedule, one may like the convenience of a protein or "sports bar”. It is essential to choose the right one as most bars are just candy bars, often providing extra unnecessary calories. One should preferably opt for a bar that has about 200 calories, up to 5 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbohydrate.
References:1. ACSM Fit Society, 2011 spring issue
2. Nutrition Fact Sheet: Eating Before Exercise, Provided by Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN), a dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
3. Timing Your Nutrition, Christopher R. Mohr, PhD, RD, CSSD
4. Preventing the "Low-Fuel Light" in Endurance Exercise, Andrea Hacker Thompson M.S., R.D.
Latest Publications and Research on Energy Boosters Before a WorkoutMania and energy drinks. - Published by PubMed
Generational differences in dietary pattern among Brazilian adults born between 1934 and 1975: a latent class analysis. - Published by PubMed
Cardiovascular responses to ENERGY drinks in a healthy population during eXercise: The C-Energy-X Study. - Published by PubMed
Like and share: associations between social media engagement and dietary choices in children. - Published by PubMed
Effect of Dietary Factors on Cardiac Rhythm. - Published by PubMed