A great training session can depend on tons of factors – what you ate beforehand, energy levels, how sore you are, how much Jack Daniels you drank last night…etc. But figuring out what to eat before a workout can make or break how the session goes, and how you feel afterwards.
If you’re like most people, there’s not enough time in your day to plan and execute a healthy lunch with veggies, lean protein, fish oil, and free range alpaca bone marrow broth. Life is hard.
However, there are several simple things you can bring with you that will enable you to grab a quick energizing snack that will make your workouts feel awesome every time.
Your pre-workout meal is important for several reasons:
- Energy to fuel your workout – you can’t train hard if you’re dragging
- Pre-Workout nutrition is equally as important as post workout nutrition in terms of refueling and rebuilding your muscles
- Eating a healthy and nutritious meal sets the tone for the workout.
What to Eat Before a Workout
Find a meal that’s easy to prepare that is roughly 50% carbs and 50% protein. This isn’t a good time to eat anything that’s high in fat, so structure your day in a way that allows you to get healthy fats outside of the workout window.
If you’re trying to build more muscle, you should think about 60/40 or 70/30 carbs/protein.
Pre-Workout Meal Examples:
Greek Yogurt and Fruit
It’s easy to find single serving greek yogurts at the store. Add a banana or some berries to your favorite flavor for a energizing muscle building pre workout snack.
but y tho?
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein that breaks down into amino acids that rebuild muscles. The banana is a high glycemic carbohydrate source which fuels your muscles during the workout.
Cook up some instant oats in the microwave. Add some milk and a scoop of protein powder. I also like cooking the oats with some dried cranberries in it.
but y tho?
The oatmeal is a fibrous carb, which means it digests more slowly than simple sugars. This will give you sustained energy for the full workout. The dried fruit breaks down faster for quick energy, and the protein rebuilds the muscles you’re working.
Sweet Potato and Grilled Chicken
You can eat this just like it sounds, or chop it up and make tacos. Either way, this is a delicious and healthy lunch option that will keep you fueled up for the training session.
but y tho?
Sweet potatoes are a great complex carb, which will help you feel energized, while the chicken is the protein you need to protect and replenish muscle tissue.
Sourdough Ham and ‘Kraut Sandwhich
2 slices of sourdough bread, a few slices of deli ham, mustard, and all the veggies you want. Another good lunch idea if you train around mid day.
but y tho?
Sourdough bread is a great option if you don’t eat a lot of wheat. Sourdough bread is fermented prior to baking so it’s a lot easier to digest. Try this if you’ve ever thought you had any wheat sensitivities. The protein in the ham provides the rebuilding element we need, and the mustard is a low carb sauce alternative. Obviously veggies are good, so eat them. I like to stack it high with tomatoes and sauerkraut.
The sauerkraut is also fermented, which will help with overall digestion, and gut health. Both important to building muscle and staying healthy since the majority of the immune system exists in the gut.
When Should I Eat Before Training?
The rule is that the more you have to chew, the longer you should wait to train. If you’re having a full meal of sweet potatoies and chicken, wait 45 minutes-1 hour to let it digest before training.
If you’re having a shake, or the yogurt and fruit, you can go train almost immediately.
but y tho?
When you’re working out, you want all the blood flow in your body going to the muscles you’re training. If you’ve just had a big meal, most of the blood flow will be redirected to the gut to aid in digestion.
This is highly personal though, so do what feels best to you. I have had clients that will eat a full meal right before training and feel just fine, and I’ve seen people who will feel terrible after having a light protein shake pre-workout. Try a few different options and see how you feel.
If you absolutely don’t have time to prep food during the day, click here to figure out the best pre-workout fast foods you can get at a fast food restaurant.
Did I miss your favorite pre workout meal? Leave a comment below!