What to Taste Before You Train

| 3 min read

A man eats a banana while sitting on a weight bench at the gym.
We’ve all been there. Justifying a guilty pleasure meal with the assumption that you’ll go work it off immediately after you are done eating. The truth, however, is that these unhealthy choices don’t do much to maximize that workout, especially if eating junk food has become a habit. Preparing the right way can eliminate these bad vibes and get you the nutrients needed to crank out a stellar workout.
As a rule of thumb, pre-workout foods should be:
  • Low in fat
  • Moderate in carbohydrates and protein
  • Low in fiber
  • High in fluid content
  • Familiar enough that your body tolerates them
Though it goes without saying, following these guidelines typically means avoiding sugary treats like candy and soft drinks, fried foods and greasy choices like burgers and fries.
If you’re an early bird that likes to exercise in the morning, these options should complement your workout nicely:
  • A piece of whole wheat toast or whole wheat bagel. Whole wheat options are a good mix of complex and simple carbs which are easy to digest and provide energy boosts. Paired with fruit jam or some cinnamon, this is a great option to take on-the-go.
  • Oats and trail mix. Seeds, nuts and oats all gradually release sugar and insulin into your bloodstream. Trail mixes that have more dried fruit and nuts are usually healthier too, just be careful of sodium contents.
If you’re an evening or afternoon gym-junkie, some foods with more sustenance include:
  • Brown rice and chicken. Packed with protein and carbs, this meal tends to sit well during a workout and is packed with nutrients. Be sure to stick with brown rice over white and feel free to swap tofu for chicken for a vegetarian option.
  • Beans and lentils. Legumes are another source of complex carbs that allow for the slow-release of energy. These foods can cause gas pains though so be sure to exercise portion control and consume legumes at least an hour before your workout.
Some foods – the more natural the better – are usually safe any time of day:
  • Bananas. Loaded with digestible carbs to fuel you up and potassium to maintain nerve and muscle function, bananas are the ideal fruit to carry you to and through a workout.
  • Greek yogurt. Yogurt is easy on the digestive system and packed with pro-biotics. The fresh dairy and protein in Greek yogurt also provides energy boosts to sustain a lengthy workout.
Though you might think that similar principles apply to what you eat during and after a workout, bodily muscles and functions require different nutrients. It’s important to regulate your diet to the exercise patterns your body experiences. Keeping a balance of essential ingredients is key.
Photo credit: Getty Images

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