We’ve all been there before. The workout is at the halfway point and instead of concentrating on the next set we are questioning whether finishing is even an option. A crucial error has been made: it’s been too long since our last feeding and the rubbery legs, fuzzy minds and empty stomach are on the edge of defeating us and the progress we intended to make today.
Don’t be this guy! A great pre-workout snack can increase workout energy and effectiveness!
This negative situation can be prevented with some great pre workout snack ideas. Suitable fuel obtained before exercise can increase the intensity of the training session and prevents decreases in blood sugar, which leads to feeling light-headed and fatigue. These snacks should be consumed approximately half an hour before beginning exercise. The best pre workout foods for energy can be eaten, digested and absorbed quickly and on the go. In addition, these excellent choices can enhance recovery, making tomorrow’s workout even better.
Greek yogurt has the fast acting carbohydrate to fuel the start of the workout, some fat to add energy to the last fifteen minutes and the protein to minimize muscle loss and quickly begin the rebuilding process. Its soft solid texture also makes Greek yogurt an ideal pre workout snack as it is easily digested and absorbed. Plain Greek yogurt is the ideal choice, as flavored versions simply add unwanted sugar. Adding flavor from berries, oats, nuts or nut butter, and even protein powder amplifies the exercise driver of Greek yogurt.
This high fiber food will slowly release carbohydrates into the body, providing fuel that can last throughout a strenuous session. Oats are also high in vitamin B1, which helps the body convert carbohydrates for energy, cardiovascular exercise enhancer iron and the antioxidant selenium. Also, some additions can turn oatmeal from a good pre workout snack to a performance super fuel. Adding berries can further augment the antioxidant and vitamin content and mixing in some protein powder increases the protein content to improve oatmeal’s muscle building capabilities.
Whole Wheat Nut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Whole wheat bread is full of complex carbohydrates, which are digested and absorbed more slowly than sugars and, therefore, delivers sustained energy over a workout. The simple carbohydrates of the banana will provide the quick power burst for the initial burst of exercise. In addition the banana provides a healthy dose of potassium, which optimizes nerve and muscle function, both essential for high performance physical activity. Finally, the nut butter (preferably natural peanut or almond butter) provides protein to provide the building blocks for muscle tissue and make this snack a complete product for pre-workout nutrition.
Nut, Seed and Fruit Trail Mix
A variety of nuts and seeds will provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, in addition to their protein content. Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids which aid in fuel absorption in muscle cells, sunflower seeds and almonds are full of vitamin E which prevents oxidative stress caused by exercise and peanuts contain carbohydrate converting B vitamins. Dried fruit such as raisins, apricot, mango, papaya, cherries and figs provide quick energy and are also a great source of many vitamins.
Protein Shakes and Smoothies
Liquid nutrition will be absorbed at a faster rate than solid food making shakes and smoothies an excellent choice for pre workout foods for energy. Unlike post workout versions, be sure to limit the amount of carbohydrate and protein to prevent feeling too full. Ten to twenty grams each of carbs and protein is more than enough to provide the energy needed for even the toughest exercise sessions and jump start the muscle rebuilding process before the workout is even over. Turning the shake into a smoothie by adding fruits, vegetables, nuts, or seeds will only increase the strength of this ramp up beverage by including additional energy and nutrients. However, portion restraint should be taken to ensure that the smoothie remains a snack and not a full meal replacement that requires a nap instead of an extra set!
Not just for after workouts!
About the Author: Gym Junkies provides health and fitness information – including workout routines, video tutorials, and fitness articles – to achieve optimal strength and peak performance. Follow them on Facebook.