Ask anyone at your neighborhood gym what they eat and drink before a workout, and you’ll get many different answers. Everyone has their own opinions on what you should consume to get the most out of your workout, so we thought we’d take the stress out of the decision and take a look at which pre-workout snacks will make your exercise more successful.
Before we start to think about what you should be eating before a workout, we need to parse out your workout goals. What’s the one thing you want to have while you’re working out at the gym? That’s right – energy. And what can give your body tons of energy without a huge crash? You guessed it – carbohydrates.
Everyone’s heard of carbo-loading before a big marathon or workout, but we’re not suggesting you eat an entire bowl of linguine before you head to the gym. Instead, try eating a mix of complex and simple carbohydrates. These two break down at different rates, and will give you a slow release of energy throughout your workout.
What’s a simple carbohydrate? Fruits are some of the best simple carbs to eat before a workout because they contain a large amount of vitamins and minerals that you lose when you sweat. Try something like blueberries or a banana for an optimal energy boost.
As far as complex carbs go, a single piece of whole-wheat toast is your best bet. Whole-wheat flour isn’t nearly as processed as white flour, so it’s a lot easier for you to digest. Plus, it contains almost three times as many vitamins and minerals as white flour.
To bind them together, let’s turn to an old classic – peanut butter. By topping your toast with peanut butter, you’re adding an extra layer of complex carbs, some simple fats (the good kind), and a nice bit of protein. These are all things you’ll need to help make your workout more effective.
Many pre-workout drinks promise more energy and more endurance during your workout. How do they achieve these promises? With sugar, energy supplements, and other mystery ingredients. Some even contain caffeine, creatine, and huge amounts of high fructose corn syrup.
Steer clear of these empty promises and empty calories. Sure these drinks might give you a boost at the beginning, but by the end of your workout, you’ll be feeling groggy, tired, and more worn out than if you would have gone without.
So what do we suggest? Try sticking with the old standby – water. About 30 minutes before you work out, drink an 8 oz. glass of H2O. This will ensure that you’re hydrated before you sweat it all out.
Don’t fall for gimmicks. There are hundreds of products out there that promise better workouts, more energy, and bigger gains. But deep down, they’re filled with processed sugars, energy supplements, and other nasty ingredients that you need a PhD in chemistry to pronounce.
Instead, stick with a nice blend of complex and simple carbohydrates like fruits and whole-grain breads, a serving of peanut butter, and an 8 oz. glass of water. You might not feel the kick you get from that store-bought energy drink, but your body knows the difference, and you will, too.
Are you eating and drinking all the right things, but still having trouble getting energy to workout? It might not be a problem with food – it might be a problem with pain. Make an appointment at your local Airrosti office today for a consultation. We’ll figure out the root cause of your pain and help you heal fast so you can get back to the gym in no time.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here.