Whether you eat or don’t eat before exercise, research shows the body burns the same amount of fat. However, you can actually cause muscle loss if you regularly work out on an empty stomach. Here’s why: When you’re hungry, your body goes into survival mode and draws protein from muscle instead of from your kidneys and liver, where the body normally looks for protein. When this happens, you lose muscle mass, which can ultimately slow your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. Plus, if you exercise on an empty stomach, you’re not giving yourself the fuel you need to power through an intense training session. (Eat one of these snacks before your next workout and turn your body into a fat-burning machine!)
10 Best Foods to Eat Before Workout
Oatmeal is a super food that is packed with carbs, proteins, minerals, essential fatty acids and it is a great source of fibers as well. Oats is complete pre-workout food for those who hit the gym in the morning when you don’t have time to eat breakfast 1-2 hours before the workout. Oats settle well without giving you a bloated feeling and takes time to digest thereby keeping you satiated for longer slowly releasing sugar into the blood stream. Addition of fruits and berries will help you keep hydrated throughout the workout.
2).Sprouts and Legumes
Sprouts and legumes are one of the healthiest snacks that are highly nutritious. Sprouts are rich in vitamin K and C, proteins, fibers and minerals. Sprouts are loaded with complex carbohydrates that take longer to break down thereby releasing energy for a longer period of time. This makes it ideal for consumption 1-2 hours before the workout.
Fruit smoothies are ideal pre-workout snack when you are running short of time. It takes seconds to prepare and you can have it on the go. Opt for fruits with high glycemic index such as mango, banana, pineapple, and watermelon. The carbohydrates present in the fruits breakdown rapidly to supply energy during workout while the proteins help in checking muscle damage.
Bananas act as powerhouse of fuel that helps the body to function effectively throughout the day. It’s a great source of carbohydrates, potassium and manganese that helps prevent muscle cramps, helps wound healing and increases bone strength and endurance. Eat a banana along with a cup of yogurt at least an hour before hitting the gym for optimal results.
Greek yogurt is packed with protein, almost double than regular yogurt that keeps the muscles energized throughout the workout. In addition, it is easy to digest and therefore ideal for the days when you feel like pumping the iron or go for intense exercises. It is easily digestible and therefore ideal for those with sensitive stomach. It is also a great source of carbohydrates that make up for the pre-workout energy requirements.
The good old eggs are one of the richest sources of proteins and minerals. It is easy and quick to prepare and great to eat. You can either have them hard boiled or scrambled. And yes, you can have the yolk as well because it improves the level of HDL in blood level thereby protecting the heart.
Research shows that caffeine before exercise can actually enhance performance by supplying energy to the muscles. Caffeine signals the muscles to burn stored fats rather that carbohydrates for extracting energy. Caffeine also helps prevent muscle soreness post-workout. Although caffeine is present in various sports drinks, tea and chocolate, but its better have a cup of black coffee before you hit the gym in order to boost up energy.
Protein is an important recovery nutrient, and one any Paleo eater consumes adequately. While research typically focuses on ingesting protein post-workout for muscle repair, new studies have revealed that ingesting protein before a workout can actually increase metabolism.
This is an incredibly easy pre-workout snack with no cooking involved whatsoever. Just eat 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of chickpeas, seasoned with some lemon juice for taste. A quarter cupalone will give you about 10 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs, and almost 9 grams of fiber.
This is a great option if you only have a few minutes before your workout because it’s so light, so the simple carbs will provide you instant energy without weighing you down. A few recommendations for dried fruits to eat are dried berries, apricots, and pineapple. Shoot for around a quarter cup.
What to avoid?
If you’re going to stray from this list, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Be sure to avoid fatty foods before working out—fat leaves the stomach very slowly, which means you’ll feel full and sluggish and could cramp up easily. Although carbohydrates are good, you should not get them from raw sugar or candy. Either of those foods will cause a sugar rush—and probably a crash—while you’re mid-workout. Also, don’t overeat before you workout. These are all snack suggestions, not meals. Eating too much can cause indigestion, sluggishness, nausea and vomiting. For people trying to tone and lose fat, “there is a myth that by not eating, they are going to go into further deficit and lose more fat. In reality, their bodies may shut down and not lose anything. Figure out your own pre- and post-workout eating habits. A snack 40-60 minutes before the workout works well for the majority of us.
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