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What Should You Eat Before Your Workout?

Written and reviewed by
Dt. Palak Mittal 90% (97 ratings)
B.Sc - Dietitics/Nutrition, Post Graduate Diploma In Dietetics & Public Health Nutrition, M.Sc Food & Nutrition
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Bangalore  •  7 years experience

It is a commonly known fact that workouts are necessary for the maintenance and well-being of our system. While working is on everybody’s mind, must also work out with the sole aim of wanting to reduce their weight. To achieve your weight loss goals proper diet combined with exercise is the best

For all those wanting to start their workout regime has to bear in mind that one cannot exercise without having something to eat as diet and exercise go hand in hand. In fact. Diet contributes 70% and exercises 30% to achieve the desired results. But 70% diet does not mean you have to eat less, it means that you eat the right meal at the right time and in the right proportion. Hence it is very necessary to look into your pre-work meals.

Why proper pre-workout meals are necessary!

  • One of the reasons to have something to eat before you start your work out is to protect your muscles from overstrain by reducing the glycogen depletion and the breakdown of the muscle protein. Also, the levels of the stress hormone called cortisol can be maintained at the optimal level by giving your body the proper nutrition that it needs.
  • Pre-workout meals should be a combination of complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates for a slow and steady release of energy throughout your workout. Along with carbohydrates adding a small amount of protein helps to decrease the exercise-induced muscle loss. When you exercise, blood flow is diverted away from your digestive system to your muscles. Hence one should avoid meals which take time to digest like meals high in fats and fibre.
  • Ideally, if you work out in the mid-day, afternoon or in the evening one should eat about 2-3 hours before the workout to give time for your system to move the food out of the stomach and begin digestion and absorption. Some of the examples of pre work out meals can be whole wheat toast with banana and low-fat yoghurt and fruit smoothies with some granola bar or any traditional Indian balanced meal.
  • For early morning workouts, your glycogen (stored carbohydrates) and blood sugar levels are low. The time between your last meal at night and early morning, tend to be between 10-12 hours. During this overnight fast, your glycogen stores slowly decline because it is being used up to keep various bodily functions going while you sleep. So for early morning workouts, eating a small amount of rapidly digestible carbohydrate like any seasonal fruit be the best choice.

I have put down a list of few foods that you can have a workout! By feeding your system with proper nutrition before any form of exercise you can achieve positive results

1. Fruits: 

The consumption of fruits with a high glycemic index can be ideal for a workout. The high GI fruits not only contain low fat but also contain easily digestible sugars. This helps the food to digest well before the workout and the necessary fuel needed for a vigorous workout is also obtained. Also, you do not feel this healthy snack bouncing in your stomach while exercising, thus relieving you of an uncomfortable feeling. Some of the fruits which can be consumed are the banana, apple, mango, pineapple, watermelon, etc.

2. DryFruits – Almonds and Walnuts:

Dried fruits, as well as nuts like almonds and walnuts, can be an excellent pre-workout snack. Firstly, they get digested very fast and thus you can grab a hand full of the nuts just before you head to the gym. Also, they comprise of carbohydrates, which can be easily broken down and provide you with the necessary energy during a vigorous exercise.

3. Chia Seeds

Packed with powerful antioxidants, omega-3 fats and proteins, chia seeds can form a perfect pre-workout meal. These help in getting the much-needed energy, strength and stamina, you can safely vouch for chia seeds.

4. Oatmeal: 

Rich in fibre and vitamin B content, oatmeal can be voted as another best pre-workout food. Because of a large amount of fibre in it, it gets digested slowly, providing a steady release of energy into the bloodstream. This can keep your energy levels up for a long time.

But a word of #caution! Oatmeal gives best results during a workout when consumed at least half an hour before you hit the gym.

5. Lemon and Honey water: 

To start your day fresh before a workout, you can consume lemon and honey water. The honey and lemon combination can give you the much-needed energy to sustain throughout the workout. Being an excellent detoxifier, drinking this is a sure way to achieve your weight loss goals.

6. Yogurt: 

Packed with protein content, yogurt should be had well before workouts. It prevents muscle damage and when combined with fruits, it can form an excellent pre-workout snack.

Have a happy workout by consuming the above-listed foods and stay fit and healthy!

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