Believe it or not, the key to getting the most out of your time at the gym actually takes place in the kitchen. That’s right, fueling your body properly before, during, and after your workout will help you achieve your fitness goals. No matter what kind of exercise you plan on doing, here’s what to eat before a workout.
Why is it important to fuel up before your workout?
Have you ever thought about why people eat? Eating 3 or more times a day comes natural to most Americans. It’s a time to socialize with loved ones or the opportunity to step away from your desk for a few minutes. Eating isn’t just for your enjoyment; it also gives you energy. Because we can’t create our own energy like plants do, we must consume other organisms (e.g. plants, animals, fungi) to get the nutrients we need.
You need energy to power through your workout. It’s as simple as that. What you eat depends on your activity and will affect your performance and recovery time. Not sure where to begin? A personal trainer can help you navigate the gym as well as your kitchen.
What should you eat before a cardio workout?
Before you burn some calories, you need to fuel up on some. Check out our top picks.
Recommended snacks for high-intensity workouts
Your schedule is packed but you know you need to squeeze in a good workout or two. That’s why you choose high-intensity interval training (HIIT). You want to be in and out of the gym as fast as possible. To keep you energized all workout long, eat a combo of complex and simple carbs. Here are some snacks that are as efficient as your workout.
- Trail mix: We don’t mean the kind with the candy. A handful of trail mix gives you a healthy blend of carbs, proteins, and fats.
- Oatmeal topped with fruit: Fruit will give you a quick energy burst, while oatmeal’s fiber will keep you full and focused.
- Energy bar: Before you put that bar in your cart, see how many ingredients you can pronounce. You want a grab-and-go snack that’s mostly made of dried fruit and nuts, not chemicals.
- Coffee: A little bit of caffeine before your workout gives you energy; not to mention, it helps temporarily boost your metabolism.
Our snack picks for moderate intensity workouts
Just because we’re calling this moderate intensity doesn’t mean that your heart won’t be racing during these exercises. If you’re headed to the gym for a spin class or running a 5k on the treadmill, you’re going to need a lot of energy during your workout. Skip the processed breakfast cereal, and go for whole grains and healthy fats.
- Avocado or nut butter toast: The fiber in your toast gives your body the carbs it needs during these exercises. Once your carb storage is depleted, these healthy fats will help guide you to the finish line.
- Carrots and hummus: Don’t mind dairy? Swap out your hummus for a protein-packed cheese stick.
- Whole wheat pasta with cheese: Are you going to work out longer than an hour? This meal is well rounded with carbs, proteins, and fats. Cut calories by halving your pasta and replacing it with veggies.
Low-calorie snacks for your low-intensity workouts
Whether you’re headed out to walk your dog or find your way into downward dog, a light snack will help you stay focused during your workout. Many yoga instructors recommend that you don’t eat for two hours before you begin your practice. While that sounds good on paper, catching a Group Centergy class before dinner might make you more hangry than happy. We recommend selecting a nutrient-dense food that’s easy to digest so that you don’t feel weighed down. Some of our recommendations include:
- Apples: They’ll help you stay hydrated thanks to their high water content. Not to mention fiber will keep you full all class long.
- Coconut water: A fun and healthy way to replenish electrolytes and stay hydrated.
- Bananas: Keep bloating and stomach aches away with a healthy dose of magnesium.
- Watermelon: Your favorite summertime treat is a great low-calorie way to fuel your gentler workouts
What should you eat before lifting weights?
You don’t want to eat a big meal before hitting the gym, but you should definitely have something at least an hour before you strap on your sneakers.
Studies show that eating protein before your workout helps increase your strength and improve your athletic performance.
Here are good examples of how to blend healthy carbs and proteins.
- Smoothie: Skip the store-bought ones, and make your own with a healthy heaping of fruit and protein powder.
- Banana with nut butter: Bananas are easy for your body to break down, not to mention the potassium will help your muscles heal after your workout. Add some nut butter for slow digestion fat and protein.
- Chicken, brown rice, and broccoli: Bodybuilders eat this meal for a reason. It gives you the energy you need, as well as protein to recover after you drop your dumbbell.
Are you ready to make your grocery list? Get your workout and your weekly shopping done at once. Nearly all of Boost Fitness’s locations are located minutes away from a grocery store. Our Oxford and Fitchburg locations even share a plaza with Market Basket. Find a Boost Fitness near me.