Are you ready to hit the gym? Do you hope to surpass your usual ability, adding more reps or lifting more weight? Perhaps you want to stretch your run to four miles rather than three. What you eat could be the ticket to helping your body perform and sustain essential energy levels.
Pre-workout meals deliver nutrition to the body. Would you take your car out for a long drive without checking the gas and tires? With less stress and ease, a full tank and plump wheels get you where you’re going. Treat your body similarly, priming it to work at its best. If you’re interested in doing more, it’s time to think more about what’s on your plate. The following are tips to fuel your body before your next session.
1. Don’t Skip the Carbs
Okay, yes, do it! Eat the carbs. This macronutrient gets a bad rap in the food world, with many diets encouraging people to nix it from their meals. If you’re working out, however, you need carbohydrates. Make a sandwich with whole-grain bread. Add a scoop of steamed brown rice to your grilled chicken lunch. Let it fill up a quarter to half of a quarter of your plate.
Professionals like the USANA Athletes understand that the body requires proper fuel to perform at an optimal level. Healthline.com emphasizes that carbs support the body in several ways: reducing muscle damage and improving general performance. Follow these workout enthusiasts in their nutritional routines. A couple of hours before a game, enjoy a good-sized portion to load your muscles for the upcoming workout.
Verywellfit.com notes that when people consume carbohydrates before exercise, the body can produce additional glycogen. This substance is stored within muscles and the liver, and the body pulls from these resources to keep energy levels high during training. People completing short workouts or high-intensity routines rely on carbs to sustain them.
Remember that cookies, donuts and chocolate are poor food choices, high in fat and processed sugar. Try to stick with complex carbohydrates with fiber, such as whole grains and oats.
2. Reach for the Water
You’re probably sweating pretty well at the end of a cardio class, run or game. Your system requires hydration before it even begins. The body releases moisture as you exercise, sweating to decrease your internal temperature. While you should drink during the activity, that fluid isn’t enough to compensate for your body’s hard work.
According to the Better Health Channel, dehydration causes several physical symptoms such as reducing focus and increasing lethargy. Therefore, fill up a large bottle of water with your pre-workout meal.
3. Add a Fat
Fats can taste great, and they don’t have to be on the off-limits list. When used in moderation, it could offer benefits. It’s beneficial for those with moderate to low-intensity activities. Medical News Today discusses why you shouldn’t toss fats out the door. Fats are themselves a natural supply of energy. Therefore, consuming a small amount a few hours before exercise could fuel the body.
Focus on unsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado and nuts. Use them as flavor accents to your lean protein or carbs. For instance, swap out the butter for high-quality olive oil. Spread a piece of toast with half an avocado. Toss a few nuts onto a salad for crunch.
4. Enjoy More Protein
Carbs provide immediate energy release. However, protein fills up bellies and lasts for more extended periods. Therefore, pair a carb with a protein. You’re putting those muscles to use, hitting the elliptical or enjoying a kickboxing class. Support their function and growth. Healthline reports that a portion of protein several hours before working out maintains muscle and assists with recovery efforts.
Get moving and feel good. Prepare your body to handle the stress and strain of an intense workout. Muscles don’t keep going. They can break down. Respect them by fueling your systems to help their performance.