Ever wondered what food and nutrition do you need before a work out?! Can you prepare ’em at home? Well, here’s the list of best pre-workout meal ideas!
Hey there! A pre-workout meal is as important as your workout. The right nutrients make sure you avoid injuries and that your weight loss and muscle gain become effective. The right superfoods need to be consumed before working out to gain energy, prevent muscle spasm, increase your muscle activities.
From knowing the number of calories to nutritional facts, one needs to concentrate on the food consumed. So, here’s your guide to best pre-workout meal, drinks, shakes and many more. Let’s check them out!
Protein or Carbs Before or after Workout
To understand what makes a good pre-workout meal, you need to know what happens to our body and nutrients when we exercise. Basically, your body needs quick-action fuel for muscles when you work out, which is provided by glucose in the carbohydrates from meals and drinks.
Additionally, after the workout, the body needs to rebuild muscles or heal muscle wear and tear. This is done with the help of proteins, which also helps replenish glycogen in the body.
Pre Workout Meal
A good pre workout meal should contain two essential nutrients, carbohydrates and proteins. And specific quantity intake ensures its effectiveness. Protein-rich meals are highly beneficial as they provide amino acids that are very much required to avoid muscle loss. It also helps for weight loss and muscle recovery.
The best pre-workout food should also contain carbohydrates along with proteins. They are yet another important nutrient for the body. There are two types of carbohydrates – simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates are great when you consume an hour before workout. They are responsible in providing glucose to the body. While complex carbohydrates are responsible for the slow release of energy from your body. It should be consumed 2-3 hours prior to workout.
Fats are something one should avoid. Though high in energy, fats take a lot of time to digest. So, ideally, a person should consume light meals an hour before the workout and consume a meal of 400-500 calories containing 20g of protein and 20g of complex carbohydrates.
Best Pre-Workout Drink
Consuming pre-workout juice is essential to get an extra boost of energy. The best pre-workout drinks should contain BCCAs (branched chain amino acids, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine), caffeine, taurine, carbohydrates, beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate and vitamin E. Make sure your pre-workout powder or drink contains all the elements.
1. BCCA or branch chain amino acids are the anabolic group of amino acids, which are important for muscle fuel, recovery and growth.
2. Pre-workout with Beta-alanine can provide real performance by increasing muscle activities.
3. Caffeine works on central nervous system by promoting spinal cord activities reducing fatigue and muscle pain.
4. Taurine increases strength, muscle volume and regulates blood sugar level.
Orange flax, apple cider, banana and wheatgrass, coconut water, blueberry and Greek yogurt smoothie are a few best pre-workout drinks.
Smoothies are definitely one of the best energy boosters (like this one). You can try a variety of them with combinations of kale, kiwi, berries, chia seeds, protein powder, spinach, parsley, peanut butter amongst others. But preparing good workout smoothies doesn’t only include blending your favorite ingredients. It also depends on other factors like workout style, duration and intensity.
Before strength training, the pre-workout ratio of carbs to protein should be 3:1 or 75 percent to 25 percent. The main focus should be on proteins. It should be consumed an hour before of the workout. The important components for the smoothie are protein powder, milk (of your choice), any fruit like pineapple, mango or peach and flaxseeds.
A cardio session like running or cycling focuses on the cardiovascular system. So, consuming carbs both simple and complex ones is important for energy. The smoothie should be consumed 30 minutes before the workout. The important components of the smoothie in this case would be milk, banana, strawberry and honey.
Consuming a shake before a workout provides energy and strength to complete a high-intensity workout. The proteins in the shake provide essential nutrients to build the muscles and the additional ingredients in the shake can be customized to meet your individual fitness goals. The protein shake increases the muscle mass by helping your body to recover fast and reduce post-workout muscle breakage.
A pre-workout shake should contain 40g of proteins, 30g of carbohydrates and should be consumed 40 minutes before the workout. You can mix the shake with skimmed milk to add additional proteins and carbohydrates. You can also add electrolyte powders or muscle building supplements. A few best pre-workout supplements that you can try include Muscle Blaze, Optimum Nutrition and Muscle Blaze.
Try muscle milk prepared with 1 cup oats or soy milk, 1 tsp whey protein powder, 1 tsp cocoa powder and 1 tsp honey. Oats provide carbohydrates that are easily converted into energy. Cocoa powder provides energy to the muscles. Whey protein is the richest dietary source of BCAA’s, a form of amino acids that builds muscle mass.
Did you know?
Our body takes 5 hours to digest fat, three hours for proteins and two hours for carbohydrates.
So your meal should consist of a combination of low fat, high carb foods with moderate protein. You can have a snack to energize 90 minutes before your workout. This is where juices come into the picture.
Healthy drinks can be prepared quickly and easily. Best pre workout drinks for energy can also be made without processed foods. They’re a great source of complex carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins and nutrients. For stamina and endurance, try apple, banana and almond juice. Carrot juice is also a great source of beta-carotene that increases the oxygen in the blood. Beetroot juice contains high levels of potassium, which can help your body to convert glucose to glycogen.
Best Pre Workout Snacks
The 4 pm hunger pangs are the worst to take care of! Eating healthy almost becomes a difficult task. But with a healthy lifestyle, it is also important to eat nutritious foods.
1. If you’re working out in the evening, it is necessary to eat a healthy light snack. Switch to fruits over fast food and reduce caffeine intake. In fact, go for caffeine free pre-workout.
2. Also, try to make easy healthy snacks at home. Try vegan energy balls by mixing rolled oats with honey and nuts. You can store upto two weeks and are easy to prepare and are delicious, too.
3. Smoothies, too make a great healthy snack. Try a variety of your favorite fruits and veggies for smoothies.
4. The best pre-workout snacks are fruits with oats, peanut butter balls (mix peanut butter with honey, protein powder, ground flaxseeds and dark chocolate chips and roll into small balls), Greek yogurt and many more.
5. Also, try organic pre-workout meal for a healthier choice. Check out my article on healthy evening snacks for more ideas.
Breakfast is the start for a healthy day. So make sure it is filled with protein. Also, it is important to note down the time you have to digest the food. If you’re working out early in the morning at 5 or 6 am then it’s okay to skip a full meal. It’s ideal if you have a pre-workout banana or milk to energize. Bananas are a great source of natural sugars, carbohydrates and potassium. For post 7 am workouts, it’s important to have a healthy large pre-workout breakfast.
Try Greek yogurt and dried fruit, porridge, oatmeal, fruit smoothies, wholegrain bread, sweet potato, omelette, or protein bars. Also, check out, my article on healthy breakfast ideas!
Best Pre-Workout Meal
It’s ideal to eat a pre-workout meal 45 to 60 minutes before your workout. The best pre-workout meal should contain an adequate amount of carbs, proteins and nutrients. These are the 5 best pre and post workout meals.
1. Greek yogurt with dried fruits: Dried fruit is high in sugar and calories. It’s a great pre workout meal for a quick source of simple sugar and protein.
2. Whole fruit smoothie: Apart from micronutrients, smoothies are full of sugars, including fructose. They are a good source of fast-acting glucose.
3. High protein oatmeal and berries: Berries provide energy and oatmeal is light and healthy. Add Greek yogurt for that extra protein. Also, a scoop of protein powder adds amino acids to aid your muscles that are breaking down.
4. Banana with peanut butter: Bananas are high in potassium. They’re loaded with simple carbs, provide energy and are a great pre-workout meal.
5. Brown rice with chicken: This pre-workout meal is perfect for noon or night workouts. Brown rice is a good source of fibre and carbs. And chicken is rich in proteins.
Homemade Pre-Workout Supplements
Pre-workout supplements are a great way to build muscles but you’re gonna end up with a hole in your pocket if you keep on investing in them forever. However, you can try them at home for similar results. And you can also customize accordingly to create
the best pre workout supplement to get ripped.
Try to get energized with these supplements.
1. Banana Wheatgrass Smoothie
Wheatgrass is rich in protein and also contains potassium, magnesium and B complex. Blend 3 large bananas with 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of wheatgrass powder.
2. Green Banana Smoothie
Bananas are a great source of potassium that help to enable body’s enzymes to control energy production. They are also high in Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6, all of which help in the conversion of food to energy. Blend 3 ripe bananas with 3 cups of water and add chopped salad greens or one head of romaine lettuce.
Apart from smoothies, pre-workout supplements contain ingredients such as caffeine, AAKG, taurine, potassium, and calcium
1. Begin by weighing out 4 grams of L-Arginine AAKG
2. Add the powder to your beverage of choice.
3. Next, weigh out 2g of beta-alanine, and again, add to the same beverage and mix very well.
4. If you don’t prefer a caffeine free pre workout, swallow a 200mg caffeine tablet with the beverage.
5. Alternatively, you can crush the tablet into a powdered form, and add it to the beverage.
6. For a stronger dosage, increase the amounts to 300mg caffeine, 5g AAKG, and 2.5g of beta-alanine.
So, these were the best pre-workout meals for you! Which ones are you gonna try? Let us know by tweeting @shilpa1ahuja!
Sahana is a Senior Staff Writer at ShilpaAhuja.com. With an experience in fashion and lifestyle writing, Sahana is responsible for Indian and international fashion week coverage every year, and is developing an expertise in apparel trend forecasting. She also writes about health and fitness, having pursued yoga for 6 years now. She’s not a gym person at all but is all for “running in the park” and is an amateur cyclist. Books and coffee are her other passions. She’s also an amateur photographer. She’s a hardcore Bollywood fan and she loves to cover the nostalgic topics on the same. From fashion trends to famous characters, she can make anyone love Bollywood! Her best article has been 90s Bollywood fashion, a readers’ favorite so far! Prior to her experience with ShilpaAhuja.com, Sahana has written as a freelance author for online magazine, Mashup Corner, and interned at EventsHigh as a content writer. Her blogs on basic fashion, makeup, fitness and city’s food joints that gave her a chance to experiment with her writing. She also has voiced her opinions about feminism and equal rights for men and women at PolkaCafe journals and after quitting her job, she decided to take up writing as her full time career.
Sahana is an engineering graduate and has worked in an MNC, Tesco, for more than a year as an Operations Support. It was her sheer love for fashion that made her quit the monotonous 9 to 5 job to pursue a career in the fashion industry. She’s originally from Bangalore and is currently settled in Chennai (she’s loving the city)! For any queries and discussions, contact her at [email protected] You can also tweet her at https://twitter.com/Sahana_17