A question personal trainers hear a lot is: "What food is best to eat before a workout to keep my energy levels up?" It's a great question, as some foods can help, while others harm in trying to ensure you not only make it through a long workout, but a long day as well. Here are some of our personal favorite high energy foods - try eating them 30 minutes before your next workout!
Though it may sound counterintuitive, carbs are your best friends before every workout. The key is to have a mixed bag of complex and simple ones so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your routine. We suggest you keep the calorie count to a max of 250. If you are not used to eating before exercise, a good rule of thumb is to eat about 30-40 minutes before. Eating too close to your workout time could cause nausea - which could throw your entire workout routine off!
A super simple pre-workout meal could be whole-wheat toast with fruit. This meal/snack gives you both types of carbs with the bonus of being super easy to digest. Complex carbs will keep your motor humming, while the fruit adds an extra kick of energy. If you’re hitting the gym later in the day, top with turkey instead.
You also want to think about what type of activity you’ll be doing. Are you training for a Jersey Shore 5K or Half Marathon? If so, bananas are perfect in raising potassium levels, which drop when you sweat a lot. You can even do bananas and toast together (see above)!
Fruit and Cottage Cheese
Don’t fear the fruit - they’re easily digestible so you’ll need them to help get a quick boost of energy, while the cottage cheese provides protein. That protein is essential for creating fuel for your muscles (and helps you burn more calories).
By now, you’re probably curious - are there high energy foods to eat after the workout to boost recovery time? Yup!
Grilled Chicken and Mixed Vegetables
In terms of post-workout meals, it doesn’t matter which comes first, the chicken or the egg, either will suffice. Your body is in recovery mode, and demands nutrient dense dish within 30 minutes of your workout. The lean protein and carbohydrates in chicken will fill you up without feeling overly bloated. Add some veggies in light olive oil to make your heart even stronger.
Is it still morning after your workout? Switch your eggs up from the usual scramble and make a veggie-packed omelet. Garnish with a few slices of avocado for fiber and monosaturated fats (the good kind!).
We really recommend real food opposed to a protein supplement because the digestion of actual food will burn more calories than the digestion of a protein supplement. However, a protein shake is better than nothing and will still provide the nutrients you need in a convenient package that some say will absorb into your body faster. Try making your own shake so you get the best of both worlds - knowing what food you’re having AND extra protein.
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