What do I eat before a workout? How long should I wait after eating?…
The effect of pre-workout snacks on immediate exercise has been highly debated among body-builders and cardio enthusiasts alike. Some studies say working out on an empty stomach stimulates greater fat metabolism compared to a full stomach. Others discuss the potentially harmful side effects of strenuous activity when coupled with a lack of food. Either way, there is a lot of different opinions from experts on the timing, amount and the composition of your pre–workout meal. Having a pre-workout snack is useful for a number of reasons, you just have to do it right…
The most beneficial thing about having something to eat before you workout is that it gives your body access to vital energy. The difficult part is figuring out how much of which foods should be consumed so close to exercising. Here is a list of GuavaPass recommended (and trialed) pre–workout snacks that will give you energy, curb your hunger and reduce the risk of a mid–workout crash.
1. Apple with nut butter
Apples are well known in the sports industry to provide a fantastic boost of energy. Slice up a green or red apple and spread over (in total) 2 tablespoons of almond butter or any other natural nut butter. The fats in this meal balance out energy levels as well as regulate the sugar hit from the apple. Because it is such a small meal this can be eaten 45 – 30 minutes before exercise.
2. Protein shake
Animal-derived or plant based protein shakes are another very easy snack to consume right before a workout. They’re easily stored and packed, making it a no-brainer to keep somewhere in your bag for quick access to throughout the day. Mix 1 scoop with 1.5 cups of water, shake and drink anywhere between 45 to 30 minutes before a workout. Having these high levels of protein accessible to your body during this peak period of muscle growth and development is extremely beneficial.
3. Coconut water and a handful of mixed nuts
If you’re on the run but need something to pick up your energy before a session, this is a great option. The coconut water hydrates and replaces electrolytes in your body, as well as providing some natural sugar for an energy boost. The mixed nuts (unsalted) acts as a stabiliser, balancing out your blood sugar to avoid a sugar crash and maintaining high levels of energy throughout the entire workout. This snack can be had anywhere from 60 to 45 minutes before a workout.
4. Bulletproof coffee
Caffeine is regularly used in sports drinks and pre–workouts for a good reason. It dramatically increases energy levels and stamina in competitive and performance training. Bulletproof coffee is the mixing of coconut oil and MCT oil with coffee to provide a massive energy hit alongside peak concentration and muscle development. Mix 1 cup of strong black coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of MCT oil. I like to add a tablespoon of grass-fed butter to make it super creamy. If you have a Nutri Bullet or a hand mixer you can blend them to make it frothy and light! Have this filling drink 30 to 15 minutes before working out for maximum effectiveness.
5. Protein balls
Bliss balls or protein balls are a perfect high fat, low carb and low sugar pre-workout snack. Depending on the flavour, intensity or dietary restrictions these golf-ball sized treats are simple to make in both time and ingredients required. A common recipe is a mix of cocoa, nuts, almond meal, coconut oil and dates packed together and rolled in desiccated coconut to deliver huge energy through fat and natural sugar.
Whether or not you need food before you workout is a personal preference. Some people can workout on an empty stomach and others require a small but substantial snack beforehand like the ones above. The best way to tell if you need them is to listen to your body: if you feel sluggish, or unfocused or even annoyed during your workout, you may do better after a pre-workout snack.
Try out one of these snacks this week and see how you go!