Do you eat pre-workout snacks? Is working out part of your normal routine? Do you make it to the gym only to feel depleted of energy after a few minutes?
I used to experience this a lot myself. I would motivate myself and drive to the gym, only to feel sluggard a few exercises in. A few years back I started reading more about nutrition and what fueled our bodies. I quickly realized that I needed to add a pre-workout snack to my diet, and much to my surprise it made a huge difference in my energy levels.
Even if you understand the importance of a pre-workout snack, it can be confusing to know what you should eat. Generally, you should want something light on the stomach, but something that will still fuel your body. Eating the right food will keep your blood sugar steady and in turn, give you the energy you need to have a good workout. It will make you perform better and recover faster, which is something I’ve seen happen in my own life.
When and How Much Should You Eat?
Depending on how much time you have before working out, the choices of pre-workout snacks range. Generally, the recommended time frame to eat before a workout is anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes before. I suggest planning ahead of time when it comes to pre-workout foods, that way you can just grab it and go when you’re in a rush.
Below, I compiled a list of pre-workout snacks that will give you just the energy you need for your workout.
Bananas contain the perfect amount of calories to fill you up and enough carbs to keep you energized until the end of your workout. You can opt to eat a whole banana, which is not only energizing but also filling! If you find that a banana doesn’t do the trick, add some peanut butter to the mix.
This combination is yummy and packed with both protein and carbs to fuel you through whatever workout you are doing.
Oatmeal is a great pre-workout snack because it is rich in carbs and it fills you up quickly. Not only that, but it’s also so satisfying to eat.
You don’t have to eat oatmeal plain either. Try adding some nut butter on top, or some fruits, to spruce up the taste. It is also great to incorporate low-fat milk into the recipe as well.
I love eating oatmeal with peanut butter, bananas, and chia seeds before my workouts. Since this is quite a heavy snack, give yourself time to digest it before your workout.
This is the ultimate pre-workout snack! Plain Greek yogurt has twice the protein you can find from regular yogurt. They are very filling but at the same time, not too heavy to digest before a workout.
They are the perfect snack to bring with you if you are in a rush and they are easy and quick to eat too! If you have some almonds at home, feel free to mix it with your yogurt for some added fat. You can easily find a 100-calorie pack of yogurt in your local grocery store, and keep them in your fridge for when you need them.
Protein bars are the perfect on the go snacks. They are packed full of protein and are very easy to eat! Find a good brand with less than 300 calories per pack and stack them up in your pantry or your gym bag.
If you find yourself extra hungry before a workout and want something delicious and filling, a bagel (preferably made from whole wheat flour) is a perfect choice for you. I love to add some cream cheese on top but I also know people that love adding peanut butter. Adding a topping like peanut butter adds a solid source of protein, which is always good before a workout.
I love eating a slice of toast pre-workout because it only takes a minute or two to put together, and is easy to digest! Cereal is also another good pre-workout snack, mainly because it is easy to make as well. Add some dried fruit into your bowl for added nutrients and flavor.
Making your own smoothie ensures that you know what’s in it, which means no unnecessary added sugars. Unfortunately, many smoothie shops add so much sugar to their smoothies, taking from being a healthy snack to a dessert.
It’s better to make your own with some almond milk, frozen fruit, and frozen veggies than buy it at a shop. Add some Greek yogurt and peanut butter for some protein, and you’re good to go!
Nothing beats a slice of a nutritious apple. If you’re running late, you can eat it while walking to your gym. Apples are a good source of calories and carbs which are essential for your workout.
100% Fruit Juice
If you don’t feel like eating something, you should try to at least drink some fruit juice instead. Try to reach for an orange juice for some carbs and pre-workout natural sugar.
With all these options, I bet you’ll never work out again without filling in your stomach beforehand. I know that adding a pre-workout snack into my routine has helped me a lot with energy during my workouts, and I bet it will help you as well. Which is your favorite among these? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
While you’re here, make sure to check out another one of my blog posts, “20 Post Workout Foods That Are The Most Beneficial (And Easy!).”