Hands up if you’re in a love-hate relationship with food before the gym. For many people, after you’ve finished work for the day and you’re heading home for a workout, healthy meals are the last thing on your mind.
You don’t want to eat because you’re worried about being lethargic, and if you don’t eat, you suddenly find halfway through your workout you start to lose energy.
It’s a catch 22, so how do you choose between energy and having that full feeling? The meals you choose before your workout doesn’t have to sap you of energy.
This article will guide you through six of the greatest pre-workout foods to eat so that instead of crashing out with the burpees, you’ll be powering through your workout feeling incredible.
Let’s get started.
Why Pre-Workout Nutrients Are so Important
First of all, if you’re hitting the gym, pat yourself on the back. Less than 5% of adults take part in 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
Before we give you the six very best healthy meals to eat before your workout, lets first look at why pre-working nutrition is so important.
Whether you are aiming for weight reduction, strength, speed or endurance, food has a large role to play in the overall effects you achieve.
When you don’t eat enough before your workout, a number of things happen:
- You lack energy for your workout
- Your workouts become ineffective
- Your regeneration is weak
- Sleep problems can emerge
- You lose muscle tissue
- Burning fat can slow down
Remember, that taking care of your pre-workout meals alone isn’t the only answer. Your whole diet is crucial to your workout success, especially your overall calorie intake and the balance of your macronutrient’s throughout the day.
6 Healthy Meals to Smash Your Workout
To inspire you to take some much-needed food action before a workout, get stuck into these healthy meals to push you through your gym session.
1. Asparagus and Eggs
Don’t worry; this meal isn’t just eggs and asparagus on their own, this combination gives you a nice slow-releasing carbohydrate boost by pairing sweet potato with this healthy vegetable.
You can prep the eggs easily by hard-boiling, but soft-boiled or poached gives you a perfect sauce with the egg yolk. You can mix up the dish by serving on top of a slice of whole-grain toast.
The pre-workout meal contains:
- 10 Asparagus spears
- 2 Hard-boiled eggs
- 1/2 cup of baked sweet potato
- One tsp. of olive oil (to roast your asparagus)
This meal is easy to cook in bulk for a handful of different meals by baking a few small sweet potatoes, hard-boiling a half dozen eggs and roasting a tray of asparagus.
2. Yogurt Parfait
Nothing beats a quick and easy three-minute meal prep than a yogurt parfait. Throwing together healthy granola, berries, and 2-percent full-fat yogurt gives you a quick and easy energy boost, while the granola releases slow energy for your workout.
You can mix up this little snack by adding in different fruits or even blending frozen berries with the yogurt to convert it into a smoothie.
The pre-working meal contains:
- As much 2-percent full-fat yogurt as you fancy
- A handful of berries or alternative fruit
You can keep frozen berries and granola to hand anytime you need a snack, it’s perfect to keep at work to make just before you leave and eat in the gym car park.
3. Almond Coconut Mocha Smoothie
Nothing goes together as well as smoothies and coffee. Except for maybe or next entry, but for now, get stuck into this lavish smoothie recipe that’ll have you full of energy.
Just a single spoon of cocoa powder which is a crucial component of this smoothie helps to process nitric oxide, lowering your blood pressure and improving your heart health.
The added kick of caffeine will also push you through your gym session.
Put this smoothie together with:
- Almond milk
- Fresh coconut milk
- A spoonful of cocoa powder
- Your choice of coffee
Prep the night before for a satisfying cool lift after storing in the fridge.
4. Peanut Butter & Jelly
Wait, this article is about healthy meals right? Mixing healthy ingredients into your PB&J sandwich can give you a healthy boost before your workout.
The peanut butter will supply you with a nice protein boost, and just enough fat to help boost testosterone levels before a heavy lift session. Simple sugars and complex carbs from the bread and jelly with a nice boost of slow-release energy for your whole workout.
Change up your recipe for the PB&J:
- Whole-grain bread
- Your choice of jelly
- Peanut butter
For a cheeky little bonus, throw in some sliced banana for a potassium boost, preventing muscle loss.
5. Salmon and Roasted Vegetables
Your body craves protein and nutrients throughout your workout. Nothing feeds your body better than salmon, considered one of the worlds healthiest foods. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and B12 vitamins salmon is a perfect pre-workout meal.
The lean protein in salmon pairs beautifully with sweet potatoes, helping to add carbs to your diet and leafy green vegetables for a well-rounded meal that will fuel your muscles and help to replenish your glycogen system.
Try out the meal by including:
- Pan fried salmon
- roasted sweet potato
- Roast peppers
- A leafy green vegetable
Mix up your vegetables frequently to keep this recipe fresh and coming back for more. For variety, swap out salmon for tuna steak.
6. Breakfast Burrito
When in a rush, the grab-and-go sensation from Mexico is the perfect food to eat on the run and to avoid that heavy feeling in your stomach.
Mix up the traditional Mexican dish by swapping out plain white tortillas for whole wheat alternatives for slow release energy, and swap the bacon for spinach.
Mix up your breakfast in style with:
- 2 scrambled eggs
- 1 cup of spinach
- a whole wheat tortilla
- One tsp. olive oil
Cook your spinach on a low heat with the olive oil, and add your eggs to scramble once the spinach is soft. You can make breakfast burritos ahead of time and freeze them.
Try wrapping the burritos in wax paper and place into a freezer bag. Two minutes in the microwave will have these little suckers ready.
Up Your Pre-Workout Healthy Meals
Time to take your pre-workout seriously and fuel your body ready for massive energy boosts and gains. Interested in getting more out of your fitness?
Check out some more of our articles for the inspiration you need.