What are the best pre-workout foods and regimen for effective training?
There are a lot of reasons why a person starts working out. It can either be to lose unwanted weight, especially after the holidays, to improve body image, or simply wanting to be more active and fit.
When training or working out, you should do certain things and practices to keep yourself safe from any injury. After all, a workout will not be effective if you’re left unable to continue your training because you broke your ankle on the treadmill.
Having the right workout equipment can help keep you safe during training. Especially when you are doing high agility and endurance training, your knees can be at high risk of being injured.
But how about your diet during training?
Why do you need to eat pre-workout foods in the first place? Think of your body as a car. The food you eat before working out will serve as your gas or petrol. You won’t be able to train and perform very well and effectively in training if you don’t have the power or fuel to do it.
Here are the best pre-workout food suggestions that can help make your training more effective:
1. Protein shakes
The easiest meal you can have during training is a protein shake. It is ideal if you are on the go or don’t have a lot of time to prepare a full meal, especially during the wee hours of the morning.
There are a lot of choices you can have for a protein shake, and they also come in various flavors to suit your preference. Consuming a good protein shake, such as whey protein, can be an excellent source of fast-releasing protein. It can provide you with the necessary pre-workout nutrients that your body needs and will help boost your energy within a few minutes of your training.
An excellent source of protein is essential during training, especially if you are trying to build muscles. According to this study, consuming protein in moderate amounts every three to four hours is superior in aiding muscle building compared to eating large quantities, but less frequently. That is why it is essential to have protein as part of your pre-workout food regimen.
2. Protein bars
Besides protein shakes, an easy to-go meal with the same amount of nutrients can be found in a protein bar. You can buy and stock some great protein bars, since they are readily available in a lot of health stores. But you can also make your own, as protein bars are easy and quick to make.
You can choose to make high protein, low carb bars or high carb, low protein ones. Moreover, when you make homemade protein bars, you can choose what you put in them.
For example, you can add in your favorite dried fruits like blueberries. They are packed with antioxidants and a lot of other nutrients. Blueberries, which are considered a nutrition powerhouse, can give you a boost before working out.
3. Whole eggs
Proteins and essential amino acids are necessary nutrients when you are working out, especially in building your muscles. You can get these from whole eggs or egg whites, which makes them an excellent pre-workout food.
You can easily and quickly whip up an omelet before your training. However, you should consume this food around two to three hours before your workout to aid with muscle growth and also avoid muscle catabolism.
4. Whole grains
Whole grains are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. Consuming this kind of food around two to three hours before a workout, along with some great protein-rich foods, can give you tons of slow-releasing energy. It means that you get the fuel that your body needs to finish even a rigorous workout.
If you are physically active, you need to include sufficient carbohydrates in your pre-workout regime, especially if you do regular endurance training, such as running and cycling.
5. Fruit smoothies
Besides a protein shake, a fruit smoothie can also be an excellent pre-workout food. It is super healthy, easy and quick to make before working out, and it also tastes good.
Fruit smoothies can give you a wide variety of micronutrients, as well as sugars, especially fructose. It means that these kinds of smoothies are meal replacements instead of simply a drink, since they are high in calories.
Consuming a fruit smoothie before a workout is a great source of fast-acting glucose.
6. Oatmeal and porridge
If you want a simple yet ultimate pre-workout meal, you can never go wrong with oatmeal and porridge. They are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, as well as soluble fiber and beta-glucan.
Consuming this pre-workout combination will not only give you a feeling of fullness throughout a workout, but they can also provide you with slow-releasing energy to last for your training.
There are various choices for porridge and one of the most popular ones is millet porridge. It is one of the best choices for supplementary nutrition and is even referred to as golden porridge. You can also opt to add protein powder to your porridge for an added source of protein and other essential amino acids.
Caffeine can also be a good part of a pre-workout food. It is very popular for athletes because of its ergogenic capability, and is often used to delay fatigue and improve endurance. Consuming caffeine in pre-workouts has also been seen to lower the rate of perceived workout exertion.
There are already several studies that show significant benefits of consuming caffeine on the power and strength outputs to those who are working out.
Bananas are not only an excellent source of potassium, but they also have simple carbohydrates and natural sugars. They are an excellent pre-workout food for increasing your blood sugar levels and boosting your glycogen stores.
However, since your body can only store potassium for a limited time, you should consume bananas around 30 minutes to one hour before working out.
9. Pre-workout supplements
Pre-workout supplements are very popular for making training more effective. However, there is conflicting research data as to whether these supplements actually provide a significant boost to your performance.
According to one study, pre-workout supplements have shown a high concentration and energy levels for the people who consume them, but that they don’t provide any major physical payoffs. On the other hand, another study has shown that people who use pre-workout supplements have increased energy, including a boost in anaerobic capacity and muscular endurance.
If you only do recreational workouts, you probably don’t need to take pre-workout supplements. Natural caffeine and whole protein food sources can already give you what your body needs before a workout and without any risk.
However, if you do choose to consume pre-workout supplements, it is always essential to do your research first. The FDA does not regulate all supplements, which means there’s no guarantee about their safety.
Before your workout, it is essential that you pack on the needed fuel for your body to last through your training. Carbs and protein are among the best pre-workout food nutrients that you especially need when working out to build muscle mass.
Author bio: Anthony Trinton is a health enthusiast and a DIY Home Improvement in training. He shares his tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and home projects at Equipment Area.