Before we are going to talk about pre-workout meals, let’s discuss what is going to happen if you are not going to eat at all. Very often those who want to lose weight do sports before eating anything. Supposedly, it is more effective to do 20 minutes of intense aerobics on an empty stomach than to waste an hour of your time on cardio after eating.
And there are some really good arguments proving that working out on an empty stomach increases fatty oxidation and helps to convert fats into energy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose weight quickly because fat is borrowed from muscular cells, not only from subcutaneous fat. And when your workout is over the non-oxidized fats return to fatty tissue. So the benefits of exercising on an empty stomach are not so clear. What is worse, the precious protein in your muscles is also used as fuel.
So, boys and girls, you must eat before working out. Eating carbos before exercising reduces fatigue, increases stamina and exercise performance. This happens because carbos increase glucose level and make muscles more active. About 70% of energy which you will get before exercising must be taken from carbos, but you should choose foods with low glycemic index: porridge, veggies, sweet potatoes, not chocolates and cookies. Protein is also very important so that your muscles won’t collapse. Fats require more time to be digested, so eat less fat before doing any sports.
It is really difficult to understand how much you should eat before exercising. This is the thing you’ll get in time from your own experience. Some people can eat super heavy lunch 1 hour before working out and feel well while others with more sensitive stomach and intestines eat 3-4 hours before exercising. So if you’re planning to eat plenty (500-600 calories) do that 3 hours before you work out. A light snack (300 calories or less) can be eaten 1 hour before exercises. Experiment with portion sizes and timing to find what works best for you. If you are going to exercise for quite a while, add carbos to the menu. If you choose power exercises – add more proteins.
Here are our suggestions
- Ingredients: ½ cup of whole-grain porridge, 1 spoon of protein powder.
- When: 1-2 hours before exercising for stamina.
- Calories: 420, proteins: 33 g, fats: 7 g, carbos: 57 g, sugar: 2 g.
Porridge is a great meal with low glycemic index, so it is less processed than cereals. Whole-grain porridge is harder and longer to cook, but it is completely worth it.
Omelet with veggies
- Ingredients: 2 whole eggs, 2 white of an egg, peppers, onion, mushrooms, grapefruit/porridge.
- When: 1-2 hours before exercising for muscle development. For longer workouts or cardio, add grapefruit or half a glass of cereals.
- Calories: 321, proteins: 26 g, fats: 18 g, carbos: 13 g, sugar: 6.47 g.
The classic omelet is a great choice for those who visit gym right after breakfast. Eggs contain more proteins than any other “breakfast food”. This is animal protein, so it is digested perfectly.
Cabbage rolls stuffed with turkey
- Ingredients: 3.5 oz. turkey fillet, 1 cabbage leaf, violet onion, red pepper, little tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of mustard. Spread mustard over the cabbage leaf, spread other ingredients, and roll it.
- When: 0.5-1 hour before working out for muscle development. If cardio – eat any grain instead of cabbage.
- Calories: 184, proteins: 28 g, fats: 3 g, carbos: 13 g, sugar: 6 g.
Turkey is a great source of protein that is digested easily without causing troubles. This dish is perfect for losing weight and building beautiful muscles or for those who avoid gluten.
Classic bodybuilder meal
- Ingredients: 5 oz. of baked chicken, sweet potatoes, broccolis.
- When: 2-3 hours before exercises for muscle development.
- Calories: 368, proteins: 59 g, fats: 9 g, carbos: 37 g, sugar: 11 g.
Fitness models and athletes eat such dishes regularly, and there are reasons for that. Every ingredient is top-rated. Lean chicken meat contains lots of proteins, sweet potatoes – complex carbos and antioxidants, broccolis – lots of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial substances. This dish has everything your body requires. This is a real meal, so don’t eat it right before the workout.
Curd with fruit
- Ingredients: ½ curd package, ½ cup of fresh berries or melon. For stamina – a banana.
- When: 0.5-1 hour before exercising for stamina.
- Calories: 117, proteins: 14 g, fats: 0.1 g, carbos: 13 g, sugar: 6 g.
Curd has no lactose (which is surprising for a dairy product) and is a great source of protein. Blackberry and melon are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed for a workout. Need more energy? Eat a banana. Bananas are filled with carbos and potassium for proper nerve and muscle functioning. Potassium is vital for long and intense exercises, especially in hot weather. This low-calorie easily digested meal will perfectly fill the time between your workout and dinner.
DIY protein bars
- Ingredients: ½ cup of vanilla protein powder, ¼ cup of cocoa shavings, ¼ cocoa flour, ¼ cup of milk, 1 oz. of melted dark bitter chocolate. Mix protein powder and cocoa-flour with milk, form Melt the chocolate and put your bars in it. Then put everything in a freezer for 30-45 minutes.
- When: 0.5-1 hour before exercises.
- Calories: 212, proteins: 17 g, fats: 13 g, carbos: 9 g, sugar: 3 g.
This is a great form of pre-workout meal. But be careful: it can do more harm. Consider the ingredients list very attentively (in case you change something) to be sure that the protein is of high quality and there’s not much sugar. For intense workouts choose energy bars rich in carbos or natural bars made from natural ingredients. Cocoa and protein powder are delicious, and they are easily transformed into chocolate bars. By the way, cocoa contains very healthy triglycerides that help to lose weight.
Yogurt with berries
Ingredients: low-fat Greek yogurt (strained yogurt), ½ cup of blackberries.
When: 0.5-1 hour before exercising. Add a banana for stamina.
Calories: 173, proteins: 14 g, fats: 0.5 g, carbos: 28 g, sugar: 22 g.
Greek yogurt is made of plain yogurt but with whey removed. As a result, we have thicker textured and creamy product. In comparison to plain yogurt, Greek yogurt has 2 times more protein, and fewer carbos and sodium. All yogurts are fine sources of calcium. Also, low-fat Greek yogurt has almost equal amount of calories and healthy bacteria but aromatized yogurts have more sugar, which is way healthier to be replaced with fruits.
Protein shake with coffee
- Ingredients: 1 cup of cold coffee, 1 portion of protein shake. Add porridge for stamina.
- When: 30 minutes before working out.
- Calories: 150, proteins: 26 g, fats: 2 g, carbos: 7 g, sugar: 2 g.
This delicious shake will fill you with energy. Studies show that caffeine is a potent energy source which allows sportsmen to exercise longer. It increases tempo and power if drunk before a workout. It influences the performance of short and long exercises, and if you drink water there will be no bad consequences. But if you want to be stronger caffeine is not for you.
This shake can be drunk minutes before or during exercising. Liquids are digested quicker, so don’t worry: your stomach will be fine.
- Ingredients: 2 tbsp. almond oil and celery.
- When: 1-2 hours before working out.
- Calories: 206, proteins: 7 g, fats: 18 g, carbos: 8 g, sugar: 3 g.
Sportsmen love peanut better because it has many proteins and healthy fats. Almond oil contains vitamin E, potassium, magnum, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and is considered to be very healthy. But it might be difficult to find. Remember that peanut is not a real nut; it is more like a vegetable, so it is far more harmful to your stomach. Just leave the bottle of almond oil at work or in the car and eat it with celery. It is refreshing, but be careful not to overeat.
- Ingredients: 1 cup unsalted nuts (almond, sunflower seeds, cashew, and hazelnut), 1 tbsp. olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chili and sea salt, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. Add dried fruit for stamina. Heat an oven. Roast nuts for about 5-10 minutes. Mix oil, spices, and syrup, add nuts. Return to the oven and bake for 5-10 more minutes. Don’t forget about baking paper.
- When: 1-2 hours before working out.
- Calories: 546, proteins: 20 g, fats: 60 g, carbos: 23 g, sugar: 7 g.
God, that is delicious! Nuts are high-calorie food; they have lots of fats and proteins. There are enough calories to exercise well. But be careful: eat less to lose weight. You can use ½ cup of nuts and dried fruit (raisins, dried apricots, figs) to increase carbos supply instead of fats. If you want to buy nut mix, pay attention to the ingredients list – there should be no chocolate and iced nuts to avoid simple sugars.
A proper pre-workout meal is super important. It will help you to gain everything you want from the exercises. Cook the dishes in advance so that you won’t worry that you might harm your body with junk food.