By Silvia Carli
You love to feel the burn as you push your body to its limits. It could be long-distance running or hitting the weight machine at the gym. It might be something completely different. Whatever the case, going the distance in your workout requires the right fuel. These 10 pre-workout snack ideas will give you the energy you need to slay your daily routine.
Before getting into detail on the specific quick, healthy snacks, let’s think about macronutrients (the three macros are carbs, fats, proteins). What macronutrients does your body want before physical activity? What foods will make your body feel and perform its best and help with recovery after the hard work you put in?
The answer is always subjective and will vary according to your goals. However, generally, the priority order is as follows: carbs, protein, fat.
Now that I’ve reviewed the importance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, it’s time to highlight some delicious, power-packed snacks that will jumpstart your workout success:
One of the most challenging things to master when it comes to eating right is portion size. That applies to your pre-workout snack options as much as it does to your full meals. So, how much should you prepare? There’s no easy answer here.
The portion size is related to how close in time your workout is and how well you tolerate food before working out. For example: if you know that bananas tend to sit on your stomach, it’s probably not a good idea to have a banana right before a workout.
Those delicious pre-workout snacks are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to things to fuel your workout success. You need a variety of healthy hacks to help you motivate yourself, track progress, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. For instance, keeping a food diary can help you understand how your body reacts to different foods when eaten before and after workouts so you can make informed decisions.
Not a fan of eating before working out? Many people find that it doesn’t work for them. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice performance to avoid feeling too full to exercise. Instead, consider pre-workout supplements. You’ll discover a very wide range of options on the market that bring a lot to the table, including caffeine, branch chain amino acids, creatine HCL, and more. However, avoid supplements that contain unwanted ingredients like artificial coloring, D-aspartic acid, and proprietary blends that don’t disclose their ingredients.
As you track your performance with pre-workout snacks, you might find that your body does better when refueled, rather than pre-fueled. Some people simply don’t do well with any type of snack before a workout. If eating a pre-workout snack makes you feel that the food is sitting heavily on your stomach, it might be wise to skip the pre-workout dining and go for a recovery snack, instead.
The right post-workout snack can offer important recovery benefits for your muscles, tendons, and other tissues. Nuts, eggs, bananas, yogurt, chicken, superfoods like blueberries and cherries, and healthy fat-packed cottage cheese can be ideal muscle recovery foods that help you bounce back faster and stronger.
With the 10 pre-workout snacks (and the alternatives) we’ve discussed, you should be ready to conquer the world. Take the time to experiment, track your results with different snacks and eating patterns, and then design a routine that works for your specific body and nutritional requirements. Remember—fitness and health is an incredibly personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. Customize your approach to see the results you deserve.