6 Quick and Easy Pre-Workout SnacksFriday, March 7, 2014
When I don’t eat properly before my workout, my energy dwindles and performance suffers leaving me frustrated. Now, before I hit the tennis courts or lift weights, I make it a point to fuel properly. It’s really amazing how eating the right foods before a workout can make all the difference in the world.
Many of us exercise early in the morning, during lunchtime or right after work. This usually means that your last meal was hours ago. To be sure your body is properly fueled, it’s important to eat 20 to 90 minutes prior to your workout. While it isn’t ideal to workout on an empty growling stomach, it can be equally uncomfortable with a full belly.
The 20 to 90 minute time frame is a big window. What works for you may be different than what works for your friend or colleague. While some people can eat something 10 minutes before exercising, others may need a full hour to feel their best. Try a few different options and play with the timing to see what works best for you.
The Perfect Combination
Stay away from heavy, high-calorie snacks and stick to something light. The ideal snack combo includes a source of low-glycemic carbohydrates and lean protein. Low-glycemic carbs will keep your blood sugar steady and ensure you’re fueled throughout your workout. Lean proteins provide your muscles with everything they need to endure the stress of exercise. Here are a few pre-workout snack ideas that will keep you energized without weighing you down.
Snack #1: 1 small apple and ¼ cup unsalted almonds
Both apples and almonds contain fiber, which will help keep you satiated throughout your workout. The apples also provide fluids, helping to keep you hydrated.
Snack #2: ½ cup oatmeal
Perfect for morning workouts, oatmeal provides quick burning fuel and the small portion won’t weigh you down. Cook oatmeal in water or skim milk and add a touch of honey for sweetness. If oatmeal isn’t your thing, a warm bowl of farina can also do the trick.
Snack #3: ¼ cup dried fruit
The natural sugar in dried fruit will give you a quick energy boost and is perfect for on-the-go snacking.
Snack #4: Fruit smoothie
Blend your favorite fruit, leafy green and coconut water for a hydrating, energy boosting pre-workout treat. Liquid calories are digested quicker than solid food so this is a good pick for those that don’t feel well eating too close to exercise. Be sure to keep portions to no more than 12 fluid ounces.
Snack #5: ½ cup nonfat or low-fat yogurt with ½ cup fresh fruit
This delicious combination of carbohydrates and protein will give you a quick boost of energy, but with enough staying power.
Snack #6: 1 brown rice cake topped with 1 tablespoon hummus
Healthy whole grains paired with a little protein are the perfect pre-workout combination.