Everyone who exercises wants to get all they can out of their workouts Pushing the body to its limits depends upon diet – especially the foods eaten shortly before a workout begins. Consuming the right foods then provides the body with the nutrients required for top performance. Here are five of the best pre-workout food options.
Foods rich in carbohydrates are ideal preparation for exercise, since digestion transforms carbohydrates into glucose, the body’s source of energy. Thus, a food like pasta, which is both high in carbs and easy to digest, is practically the perfect choice fora pre-workout meal which is probably why many professional athletes make a habit of eating pasta before they compete.
2. Whole-grain oatmeal or bread.
Whole-grain foods such as these two are made up of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are invaluable for exercise because the energy they contain is slowly released over a long period, allowing an athlete to keep pushing themselves far into a workout. Complex carbs are especially key for endurance sports.
Eating fresh fruit shortly before exercise can provide a valuable, timely boost to glucose (sugar) levels which otherwise tend to diminish during the first
fifteen or so minutes of exercise. This surge in energy experienced just as a workout begins can significantly boost athletic performance. Plus, most fruits have high water content, which can forestall dehydration. Fruits that digest quickly (such as bananas mangoes, and pineapple) are especially good options, as are dried fruits (which generally have lots of carbs).
4. Protein (or energy) bar.
Convenient and incredibly easy to eat, protein or energy bars are a fantastic way to prepare for exercise for people who are on the go. A lack of free time is not an issue if a protein bar is handy. However, it is important to know that only some protein bars are genuinely healthy. Many allegedly nutritious protein bars are in fact laden with sugar – so inspecting nutrient fact labels closely is a good idea. Energy bars should also be high in protein and carbs, but low in fat.
5. Water (or a sports drink). While obviously not
technically a food, the importance of consuming enough liquids before a workout cannot be emphasized enough. During exercise, the body burns liquid at a prodigious
pace, such that it’s necessary to drink water before (or during) a workout at a rate of a both six ounces for every 15 minutes of intense exercise. Sports drinks with electrolytes (such as Gatorade or Powerade) will also do the job, and may be more valuable than water in hot or humid conditions. Sports drinks also have the advantage of containing some carbohydrates.
It is important to note that eating immediately before a workout is unwise. Beginning strenuous exercise while the stomach is still digesting will likely result in pain and cramps, making a good workout impossible. A good rule of thumb is to eat meals between one and three hours before commencing a workout. Consumed within that time frame, an) of the five foods described above will help provide the valuable energy need ed for quality exercise.