Eating the right foods before your workout is very important. By providing the right type of fuel to your body before you start your daily fitness routine, you ensure that you don’t end up with low blood sugar, fatigue and light-headedness. By eating correctly, you provide energy to your body, work out harder, increase muscle growth and assist post-workout recovery.
However, not all types of food will be productive to consume before a workout. Junk food may make you feel queasy and end up being counterproductive. If you want to provide energy to your body and gain maximum benefit from your pre-workout snack, then these are the five foods you should be eating within an hour before you head to the gym.
Bananas: Packed with carbohydrates and potassium, bananas make a great choice for a pre-workout snack. The carbs are easy to digest and provide energy quickly, and the potassium aids in maintaining nerve function and muscle building. Have them with some yogurt to keep nutrient levels high.
Oatmeal: Oats have a lot of fibre that helps release carbs into your blood slowly without causing a sudden spike in blood sugar. This gradual stream of carbs, coupled with the vitamin B in oats, will keep you energetic throughout the workout. You can have oats with skimmed milk as a low-fat snack.
Grilled Chicken: Try some grilled chicken breast for a simple snack before your workout. This is a low-fat, protein rich source that is great for building muscle and also preventing muscle breakdown due to intensive routines. Pair with sauteed or steamed veggies and egg whites to make a healthy wrap.
Fruit: Consuming only proteins before workouts is not advisable, as proteins take longer to break down in the body. Fruits offer a quick source of energy and, when combined with protein-rich Greek yogurt, will help your body use up protein gradually and protect against muscle damage. You can enjoy fruit smoothies, or dried fruit, before you hit the gym.
Wholegrain Bread: For a good source of carbs, wholegrain bread is a perfect choice. This versatile food is easy to top with sliced boiled eggs for a good source of protein as well. You can also spread some honey or low-fat cheese on plain wholegrain bread or toast and enjoy it as healthy fuel before your workout.
It is best to avoid fatty foods before your workout. Fat stays longer in the stomach, leaving you feeling sluggish or experiencing cramps. Carbs are recommended; but don’t get them from chocolates, soft drinks or white sugar, which can lead to a sudden rise in blood sugar when you consume them, and a sudden crash mid-workout. Instead, opt for foods that release carbs gradually and provide fuel to your body while exercising.
Lastly, eat wisely and avoid overeating. Eating a lot before any strenuous physical activity can lead to sluggishness, indigestion, stomach upset or nausea. So snack on the above foods and make the most of your workout.
Dr. Anjali Hooda Sangwan is MBBS and MD in Internal Medicine, and has done her fellowship in Obesity and Clinical. She is currently working as a consultant in Consultant at FORTIS C-DOC, B-16, Chirag Enclave, New Delhi.
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