7 Foods You Should Be Eating Before a Workout (and 4 You Shouldn't) Slideshow
2 Hours Before a Workout: Eat Chickpeas
Chickpeas are easy to prepare and provide the body with a nice balance of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. Drizzle lemon juice over a half-cup of drained chickpeas a couple hours before a workout for a sustained source of energy.
2 Hours Before a Workout: Eat Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are a nutritionally balanced, low-calorie food: The egg whites provide protein, while the yolk supplies vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Pre-workout protein helps to improve muscle performance and recovery.
1 Hour Before a Workout: Eat Peanut a Butter Banana Sandwich on Whole-Wheat Bread
This is the ideal snack for anyone preparing to exercise for over an hour. This sandwich is around 360 calories, and all the ingredients provide carbohydrates for energy, while the peanut butter offers unsaturated fats that are used for long-term fuel. The potassium in bananas also helps runners avoid cramping.
1 Hour Before a Workout: Eat Oats With Strawberries
A pre-workout meal of oatmeal and strawberries provides the body with a perfect balance of nutrients. Oatmeal is especially beneficial for long-distance runs because it sticks to your stomach without making you feel bloated. The amount of fiber in oatmeal allows for the slow release if carbohydrates into the bloodstream without making you gassy.
30 Minutes Before a Workout: Eat an Orange
One orange is only 62 calories, which is enough to subdue a grumbling stomach before a run. Orange’s high concentration of vitamin C replaces collagen in muscle fibers that are broken down during exercise.
30 Minutes Before a Workout: Eat a Handful of Raisins
Raisins are easy to digest and give the body a quick hit of sugar. University of California, Davis researchers found that runners who ate raisins before running a 5K raced faster, on average, than the control group that only drank water. Dried fruits are also the perfect foods to eat before yoga.
30 Minutes Before a Workout: Applesauce
It’s not always the most nutritious foods that are best to eat before a workout. Applesauce is low in fiber, but it delivers around 30 grams of carbohydrates per cup.
Avoid Before a Workout: Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are nutritious and will keep you alert and focused, but they aren’t the best foods to eat before a workout. Kale, mustard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard are fibrous and difficult to digest, and may lead to bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Avoid Before a Workout: Spicy Foods
Spicy foods should be avoided before exercising because they can lead to increased cramping, indigestion, and heartburn. Bland foods won’t stimulate your appetite, but they also won’t lead to painful post-workout indigestion.
Avoid Before a Workout: Beans
Beans are an ideal vegetarian protein source, but eating them to close to your workout will fill your stomach up with indigestible fiber. Save a meal of beans for after you exercise.
Avoid Before a Workout: Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are important vegetables to include in your diet, but they will wreak havoc on you while you exercise. These vegetables are also high in raffinose, an indigestible carbohydrate that can trigger abdominal bloating and excessive gas.