6 Best Pre-Workout Foods And Why It Is Important To Eat Them

pre-workout foodsYou know that saying “You can’t out run a bad diet?” Well, that is about as true as it gets. If we are not careful, the hours spent lifting weights and the miles accumulated on the treadmill can be wiped out in a matter of one meal. The gym helps you get fit. But the kitchen helps you lose weight.

Understanding the operational function of your body can help minimize weight loss disappointments and increase success rates. The formula for weight loss is pretty simple, right? Calories in + calories out=weight loss/gain.

If it is that straightforward, why is US still ranked as the most obese nation?

It is because we want the results and we want them NOW! And we will do anything to get there, even if it means going against the natural flow of our system. Unfortunately or fortunately, the body works on its own time. One thing is for sure, our body will NEVER let us down. All we have to do is understand it! What worked for your friend may not work for you.

We talk about how important it is to monitor heart rate during workouts to ensure optimal outcomes. Equally important is documenting food intake.  Not just how many calories are consumed in a day, but also when food is eaten, how soon before or after a workout to eat, and the types of food chosen.

If you are nutritionally depleted, the body pulls from muscle to convert to the necessary energy needed, thereby diminishing muscle mass. Muscles use glucose from carbohydrates as fuel during workouts.  Glycogen is how the body stores the glucose. Short and long intensity workouts use glycogen reserves to enhance performance and improve endurance.

Studies have also shown consuming protein, with or without carbs, one hour prior to a workout increases muscle synthesis, improves muscle growth, increases strength and lean body mass, and enhances muscle recovery.

Ideal pre-workout nutrition includes carbs as well as protein 1-3 hours prior to exercising.

Here are some quick and easy options:

  1. Protein shake. 1 cup of whey or plant based protein powder with 1 ½ cups of vanilla milk yields approximately 27gm protein.
  2. Whole grain toast with avocado slices. Excellent source of carbs layered with protein and all the good fats the body needs for a killer workout.
  3. A cup of cooked oatmeal topped with berries. Berries are full of fiber and oats release carbohydrates gradually. Due to this slow release, energy levels are kept consistent throughout your workout, meaning you can train harder for longer. They also contain Vitamin B, which helps convert carbohydrates into energy. Irish oats are often considered the best, as they are the least processed type and boast a lower glycemic load than quick-cooking and instant oats.
  4. A banana topped with 1 Tbsp of natural peanut/almond butter. This option is packed with carbohydrates and potassium, which supports nerve and muscle function.
  5. Greek yogurt with fruits. Great combo! The fruit is full of carbohydrates while Greek yogurt packs a protein-filled punch. Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has almost double the protein, fewer carbs, and half the sodium. The carbs in the fruit break down quickly and are used as fuel during your workout, while the protein is stored a little longer and is used to prevent muscle damage.
  6. Trail mix. Nuts are high in fat content, but they provide the calories and protein needed to make them a pre-workout favorite. Stay clear of the store bought brands containing chocolate or yogurt coated nuts.

Just remember when choosing the ideal pre-workout fuel, to be mindful of the calories. After all, calories add up no matter how you do the math.

Dr. Raman’s Concierge Medical Practice is focused on holistic care and good health maintenance. For more information on healthy eating habits and achieving and maintaining OPTIMAL health,  CONTACT our office today to schedule your appointment. You can also learn more by following Dr. Raman on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Pinterest.