Best and Worst Pre-Workout Meals
You have a couple hours before your workout, so what do you do? Stay hungry and try to train, or load up on a big meal? A pre-workout meal can help performance, and keep your energy levels up, but the trick is that you have to eat the right things. Let’s take a look at the benefits of a pre-workout meal along with the best and worst things to eat before hitting the gym.
Benefits of a Pre-Workout Meal
Avoid Getting Dizzy: Training fasted is an excellent way to burn more fat, but it’s not for everyone. Newbies to fasted training often complain of feeling dizzy or wanting to pass out. If you’re not interested in fasted training, eating two to three hours before a workout will help to avoid this feeling.
Higher Energy Levels: If you have a high metabolic rate, and you enter a workout without eating, you may inevitably hit “the wall.” You can avoid crashing mid-workout by eating something nutritious and high-energy before a workout.
Protect Muscle: When you train too much and don’t get the right nutrition, you are putting your muscle at risk for breakdown. A meal rich in protein and carbohydrates can help protect muscle mass.
Worst Pre-Workout Meals
When choosing something to eat before a workout, you want to think about food as fuel. Think about this: What is going to digest efficiently, assimilate quickly, and support your working muscles? Here are the types of food that you should NOT be eating before a workout:
High Fiber Foods: Fiber is great… but not before a workout. Foods like cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower), beans, and lentils might pack a nutritious punch, but they are going to make your workout extremely uncomfortable. Fiber promotes digestion, but this takes place over several hours. Load up on fiber post-workout or in the morning, but never just before a workout.
Fried, Oily Foods: Which will be better before a workout: A greasy hamburger or a lean chicken breast? Both supply plenty of protein, but one will sit in your stomach and it may causing bloating. Fried and oily foods are difficult to properly digest, making workouts uncomfortable.
High Sugar Foods: Simple carbohydrates are a great way to support muscle building after your workout, but eating high sugar foods before a workout might lead to a crash in energy.
Best Pre-Workout Meals
If you want to properly fuel your body for a coming workout, it’s important to focus on high protein, complex carbohydrate meals with a tiny bit of healthy fat. Try eating one of the following meals two hours before it’s show time at the gym.
Pre-Workout Meal #1:
- 2 scoops of whey protein mixed with:
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- ½ cup of instant oats
- Fat-free milk / Sugar-free almond milk
Pre-Workout Meal #2:
- 6 ounces of chicken breast
- 1 cup of quinoa
Pre-Workout Meal #3:
- 6 egg whites
- 1 cup of oatmeal (not instant) with cinnamon and stevia
Pre-Workout Meal #4:
- 1 cup of unflavored Greek yogurt mixed with low-sugar fruits such as:
- ½ cup of raspberries
- ½ cup of strawberries
Pre-Workout Meal #5:
- ½ can of wild tuna
- 1 cup of brown rice
What Do You Eat Before Your Workout?
What is your favorite pre-workout meal? Let us know in the comments below!