While this is vital knowledge that can help you make the most of your workout, an equally important question is, “What foods should I avoid?” Generally, no food is a complete no-go, but timing is key.
If combined with a personal nutrition and fitness programme, the right foods before a workout can boost energy levels and sustain your performance, rather than hinder your success.
The best diet plan should include whole grains, fruits, lean proteins, low fat dairy and vegetables, as well as keeping hydrated. When focusing on sport and physical activity, you have to consider your training intensity and duration.
The following foods are commonly thought to be a good, healthy option as a pre-workout snack, however they may be more harmful than helpful:
Ever tried heading to the gym after filling yourself up on a high-fat meal? You probably felt tired and lacked energy.
The body takes a much longer process to convert fat into energy than it does to convert carbohydrates. As a result, high-fat pre-workout snacks tend to sit at the bottom of the stomach, making you feel sluggish and lethargic.
For a pre-workout snack that will boost your energy levels and endurance, opt for hardboiled eggs on wheat toast, or natural Greek yoghurt with fruit.
High fibre foods
Like high-fat foods, foods high in fibre are a vital part of maintaining a balanced diet. While shown to help manage weight, fibre has also been linked to reducing the risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
That said, these are not a great choice for your pre-workout. High fibre foods such as vegetables, fruits and some whole grains can be difficult to digest in the body. This difficulty can cause discomfort during your workout.
Instead of your body trying to multitask, snack on easily digested fruit such as bananas or some energy boosting peanut butter spread on a slice of wheat toast.
High sugar foods
The “grab and go” snacks you see in the workout section of supermarkets may be convenient, but they are packed full of sugar. The smoothies and shakes you can purchase just before you hit the gym, or even your homemade energy bars are often high in sugar.
You assume the sugar hit will be a good energy booster, but the body processes the immediate hit of energy quickly, leaving you lacking energy just ten minutes in to your workout.
Bananas are known for being great pre-workout snacks but if you are really quite peckish, whip up a whole grain bagel with low-fat cheese and tomato.