Far too many people skip a pre workout snack. They figure that they ate somewhere between 3 to 5 hours prior and will be eating afterwards so why bog themselves down with extra calories? While it is true you don’t want to binge right before you go hit the gym hard, mainly for fear of throwing that still digesting food up, you should still get in a little something.
Your body is a machine and as such it needs proper fuel if you expect it to work at its maximum potential. Much like topping the tank off with a bit of fuel-additive before a big race, the pre workout snack gets needed nutrients into your bloodstream in anticipation of your body needing them. That way when you are going all out and your body is burning off the energy and breaking down muscles, nutrients are already on the way to help!
What You Need
You don’t want to eat a ton of food before a workout but ideally you will get some slow-burning complex carbs, water, and protein. The breakdown should be about 15-20% protein, 60-75% carbohydrates, and the remainder fat. For water you want to drink 20 ounces. The total calorie count needs to be around 300 so it will digest prior to your first rep. Your snack should be finished an hour before you hit the gym.
This is also a great time to take any supplements,
Pre Workout Snacks
These snacks all fit the bill:
- Trail Mix – High on the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
- Yogurt with Fruit – The yogurt covers the protein needs then you can add one of any type of fruit such as an apple, banana, handful of strawberries or grapes, etc. The fruit is a great carbohydrate choice.
- Energy Bars – We don’t mean a Snickers, but instead a standard Gatorade bar or other performance bar that is made up mostly of carbohydrates and not protein.
- Oatmeal or Granola – A bowl of each with milk provides a nice mix of protein and carbohydrates along with fibers oats that release energy steadily. Add some raisins for a few more calories if needed.
- Almonds – Whiles these have a much lower carbohydrate count and higher fat, the fat in almonds are the good kind with Omega-3 and Omega-6′s providing energy.
- Pasta – Usually pasta sounds heavy but that is because most people eat it with a thick sauce to go with bread and butter. Instead a cup of whole-wheat pasta with a light meat sauce can give you oodles of energy.
- Lentils – Most people don’t expect this, but you can boil a single cup of lentils and get everything you need for a great workout. They have great protein and carbohydrates plus fiber, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and B vitamins. The only downside is that some people can get rather gassy. Make sure to do a trial run on the weekend to see how you react to them and maybe use a half-a-cup to start.
You can mix and match other things for a great pre workout snack like whole-wheat toast and peanut butter or a fruit smoothie as well. But these are some of the best and easiest options that can go almost anywhere.