Hello friends, and happy Monday to you!
Today I want to share with you some of the foods I'll typically eat before I workout to get the best balance of nutrition + energy. Whether you're just getting started on your fitness journey, or have been at it for a long time now, I hope you find some fresh inspiration here today. And of course, if you have any tips you'd like to add, I'm always looking for new food ideas, so please share with the class! XD
There is one thing I haven't included on this list because I think it's so completely essential as to be obvious, and that is water. Depending on when you work out in the day, you should have at least one large glass of water in your system before you try to do any kind of workout, so that your body can function properly + get something out of the work you're putting in. (I try to drink water immediately upon waking up so that it can go through my system + I'm not running to the ladies' room mid-run, lol.)
What To Eat Before You Workout:
5 Snack Ideas1. A banana
If you've eaten within the past two hours and you just want a little snack before your workout, a banana is a great option, as it's full of natural sugar and will be gentle on your stomach while you're working out. It will give you the kind of good and lasting energy you want before breaking a sweat!
I eat oatmeal every. single. morning for breakfast at work, usually around 2 hours before I work out. The benefits of oatmeal are numerous, but what I love especially is that a little bit goes a long way: I cook about 1/3 cup in 2/3 cup of water, top with honey + half a banana and cinnamon, and I've got a breakfast that fills me up completely, but releases energy slowly. Meaning, I don't have to eat again until after I workout, which saves me from a) packing another meal to take to work b) spending money on food that I could be spending elsewhere and c) wasting calories* on two breakfasts, when I could instead be enjoying a fabulous lunch, post-workout.
I work at a gym, so naturally the pre-workout drinks abound. But though there's no doubt taking pre-workout will give you a burst of energy, the caffeine intake is unhealthily high, not to mention it's full of sugar, food dyes and other chemicals that are really not good for you. Obviously there's a time and place for that, especially if you're a professional athlete; and I'm sure if you researched the market you could find pre workouts that are a lot better for you than your typical lot (BCAAs are pretty decent, actually), but for me personally, a cup of strong coffee 30 minutes before I start my workout does the trick just fine. I drink it black, and it does act a lot more effectively that way, aside from being healthier (and tasting better, in my opinion. ;)
4. Hearty Trail Mix / Protein Bar
If you're working out later in the day (say, 3 o'clock after classes let out/you're done with work) and you know you're going to eat dinner afterwards, a good hearty trail mix is the perfect pre-workout snack. A handful of raisins + almonds are perfect if you don't have a lot on hand, or maybe throw a few dark chocolate chunks in, (for the caffeine of course. ;) Unsweetened dried blueberries put this trail mix over the top.
Another option in the same category, if you don't have time to make trail mix is to grab a Larabar: they're my favorite bar on the market at the moment, because they're minimally processed, they have incredibly basic, good-tasting ingredients, and basically all the flavors (save any with chocolate chips) have no sugar or dairy, which is a huge win for me! They can be a bit pricey per bar, but you can buy them in bulk online + save a lot more (plus you have all the flavor options available, which may not always be an option depending on which grocery store you frequent!). And the flavor options are awesome - cappuccino, peanut butter, chocolate coconut? Um, yes please.
Not a paid sponsorship, I just really like their product, you guys.
5. Peanut Butter Power Ball
I make these every once in a while when I'm going to work out soon + don't want a ton of food on my stomach, yet still need some energy/carbs/protein. I mix about a tablespoon of natural peanut butter with 1.5 tablespoons of rolled oats, until they form a protein-ball consistency. Top it off with a drizzle of honey and a touch of cinnamon (even a few grains of sea salt, if you have them on hand!) + it's awesome. Best with a small cup of hot coffee for that extra boost of caffeine, this will give you the energy you need, without having to work out on a full stomach (no fun!). Though it seems small at first, because the oats expand as they absorb water, they will keep you going for a lot longer than you expect!
Alright, that's all for today, friends. I hope your week is off to a good start!
Now get your sweat on!