Your body’s muscle glycogen stores are limited. Depending on intensity and length of your workout session, not feeding it carbs before hand can make you end up hitting a wall. Giving your body proper simple carbs before a workout will allow you to push harder and longer.
I normally suggest against simple carbs because they are instantly absorbed and used by your body, like white sugar, white rice, white flour, and so on. In this case, I am suggesting a healthy-instant fuel so you will get a little nutrition along with your simple carbs.
Of course you could just pop a handful of jelly beans, but lets see what else you can have before a workout.
20-30 Minutes Before
- Bananas or Other Fruit– Includes some healthy fiber and nutrients
- Low-Fat Yogurt – Provides a little protein to preserve muscle mass, as well as carbs to fuel you through the wall you won’t hit! Hint: Full fat yogurt does not do the same thing. The fat will slow you down and make you feel too full to workout.
- Low-salt pretzels – Instant fuel. Hint: High salt will hinder your workout performance so choose low-sodium!
- Small Smoothie 4-8oz – A shake made with soy milk and and a handful of frozen fruit will provide you a low-fat, simple carb fuel that will digest quickly and easily.
- Half PB&J on Whole Grain– Yes, on whole grain. The complex carbs will digest through out your workout, and the jam will be the instant fuel. Use a low fat PB like PB2 powder+Water to avoid feeling too full.
- Strawberry Yum Yum- 1 Scoop Low Cal Vanilla Protein Powder, 6 oz low-fat yogurt, 3 strawberries
2-3 Hours Before (to allow proper digestion)
- 1 cup Pasta – Love pasta but trying to lose weight? Eat one cup of your favorite low-fat variety (no cheese/white sauce) before a scheduled exercise session. Choose a healthy pasta made from quinoa or brown rice. Avoid high-fiber pastas because they may cause indigestion and not make you want to workout!
- Pita + Hummus – Use 1 whole grain pita and 1/4 C non-spicy hummus. Spicy foods will cause indigestion! (Not that I know this from experience of anything…)
- 1 Slice Whole Grain Veggie Pizza (no cheese)- Does this really need an explanation?
- Whole Grain Sandwich + Low-Fat Protein (low sodium, no cheese, no mayo)
- Quinoa Pilaf – Protein, Whole Carbs, and Veggies
- Protein Pancakes – Protein powder in pancakes? Double delish.
- Whole Grain Waffle + Low-Fat topping
- Whole Grain Toast + 1 Egg White
- Oatmeal + Raisins/Fruit
Now that you understand what you need to fuel you through a workout, you have no excuse to not hit the gym hard today! Have fun!