Everyone wants their workout to be the best, increasing strength and flexibility and seeing noticeable gains. Eating a snack before the workout can provide the staple fuel you need to take your workout to the next level.
Benefits of Eating Before Exercising
The benefits of eating before exercise include:
- Improved workout performance. Eating before a workout can help you work out longer, or harder. You won’t feel sluggish, lightheaded, or fatigued which can help boost your energy and fuel your workout.
- Helps burn calories. You’ll have an increase carbohydrate caloric burn if you eat before the workout.
- Helps muscle repair and growth. Eating before the workout will give your body the nutrients it needs to repair your muscles after exercising them.
Eating before you exercise is an easy way to get the most out of your weight lifting, cardio, or flexibility training.
What makes a good pre-workout snack?
You need carbs and protein to make a great pre-workout snack. Carbohydrates have fast acting energy that can fuel you up for the whole workout, and protein helps repair your muscles and recover.
The best snack options are ones that pair carbs and protein together, like apples and peanut butter, low-sugar granola and milk, or eggs and toast.
Energy Boosting Snacks
- Bananas. Bananas are full of carbs and potassium, which helps with muscle growth. Eat them plain, or pair them with peanut butter for a perfect snack.
- Peanut Butter. Peanut butter is cheap, and filled with protein. It is a quick and easy snack to keep you fueled throughout your workout. It makes a nice dip for apples, bananas, or pretzels, and if you sprinkle some chia seeds on top you can increase your fiber as well.
- Fruit and greek yogurt. They make the perfect team. The fruit is full of carbohydrates that will give you energy and keep you fueled for your entire workout, and the yogurt has protein that can help with muscle repair. Sprinkle some granola on top for a little extra carbs and you are good to go.
- Oats. Because oats are full of fiber they slowly release carbs, giving you enough fuel to last the whole workout. They give off consistent energy which allows you to train harder and longer.
- Eggs and Toast. Another perfect pairing of carbs and protein. Whether you do scrambled, sunny side up, or egg in a hole toast, eating toast and eggs will give you the fuel you need.
- Protein shakes. Protein shakes are a great way to get your protein in, as well as a little bit of carbs. (And if you feel like it was lacking in carbs, you could always eat some fruit or bread as well.)
- Veggies and Grilled Chicken. Another must try combo of carbs and protein that will fuel you . Sweet potatoes and cauliflower are both high in carbs.
How much should you eat in a pre-workout snack?
The amount you should eat before your workout depends on the length of your workout. You’ll need more energy if it is a longer workout. For a longer workout opt for more carbs.
If you are eating a big meal, aim to wait at least three to four hours before working out, so your body can digest before exercising. If it’s just a small snack, aim for one to three hours.
If you are eating 30 minutes before a workout keep your carbs to 15 grams. One hour before the work out eat up to 30 grams of carbs, and eating one to two hours before you can eat 45 grams. If you eat 2- 3 hours before a workout, you can opt for up to 60 grams of carbs.
Just proceed with caution. You want to eat the right amount to boost your energy and fuel your workout, but if you eat too much you could feel sluggish. Eating too little, and you might not have enough energy. It depends on your body and how you feel. If you happen to eat too much, push your workout time back a little bit to give your body more time to digest.
Workout Snacks that Won’t Pack on the Pounds
Some people say that working out on an empty stomach will help you lose weight.
But, not eating before your workout can result in a less energized performance, and you might not burn off as many calories, had you eaten before. Having a small snack before your workout can help fuel you through it, and you won’t be dying of hunger right after, which could lead to unhealthy overeating.
The trick is to eat a small amount of carbs and protein, and have a good intense workout to help you burn off calories, and loose weight.
What should you NOT eat before a workout?
Fat takes longer to digest than carbs and protein, so fat isn’t highly recommended to eat before your workout, unless it’s in very small portions, like the amount of fat in a tbsp of peanut butter.
Fiber is slow digesting as well, but a small amount should be okay.
- Make sure to stay hydrated! Water will make or break your workout. You need water to stay fueled and increase your energy to power through your workout. Hydrate before, during, and after a workout for the maximum workout benefits.
- Remember to keep the portion size smaller, or increase the time from your meal to your workout.
- Depending on how hungry you are, it may be important to eat a small post-workout snack as well, to help with muscle recovery and repair.