We’re back for another What To Eat Wednesday guest blog post, this time from Rachel with Orangetheory Fitness. She’s here to tell you about what you should be eating before your workout. I know I’m definitely guilty of not always having the best pre-workout meals (because unfortunately caffeine doesn’t count), so I’m hoping she can teach me a thing or two 🙂
When you go work out, you want to feel energized, capable, and strong. It can be hard to feel that way on an empty stomach! It’s important to get a wholesome, healthy meal in before you exercise because it will boost your performance and motivation. Many nutritionists recommend eating some form of complex carbs and protein before completing a rigorous workout, as it will provide you the energy you need to stay consistent during your workout. Need some ideas about what to eat? Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Salmon: Salmon is a great source of protein and naturally occurring creatine. It’s a nutrient that promotes lean muscle mass and improved work capacity of muscle. Not only that but it’s also delicious and there’s a variety of ways to make it. I personally love it paired with a balsamic glaze or baked with garlic. It’s so versatile to cook with that you’ll definitely be able to find something that suits your needs and taste! I would recommend pairing it with a complex carb like pasta or veggies so you can get that added boost of energy.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is also a great pre-workout meal because it digests slowly and serves as a great source of complex carbs. You can also add protein to it with protein powder, peanut butter, or even yogurt. It also tastes great with honey, fruit, or chocolate, so there’s a ton of different ways to customize it to your liking. I recommend trying it cold so you can let it soak overnight and grab it on your way to the gym! Portable and delicious, oatmeal will give you energy to power through your workout, and paired with protein it will help support muscles rebuilding and recovering post-workout.
- Eggs and Toast: This is another breakfast food for those who like to work out in the morning, or for those who just like breakfast food (guilty as charged). This goes back to the classic protein and complex carbs combination, and can be customized pretty heavily. You can fry the eggs, scramble them, add toppings, and make them flavorful while staying healthy. I would recommend sticking with whole wheat bread for the toast, and you could add some peanut butter, banana, and more. The whole-wheat toast will give you energy, and the eggs will serve as the protein you’ll need for recovering muscles.
- Yogurt: This is another quick fix if you don’t have a lot of time, it packs protein, and you can add some complex carbs for some more energy. You can also take this to go and to eat later. This one is a smaller meal, so you could always pair it with something else or treat it as a snack rather than a full blow meal. Additions to this can include oats, fruit, nuts, and even chocolate chips. You can choose Greek yogurt, or flavored yogurt from your favorite brand. It really depends on your preference!
- Pasta: This is a great source of carbohydrates, and if you choose whole-wheat pasta you’ll have a great, healthy form of complex carbs. It’ll give you the energy you need to get through a workout, and you don’t have to eat a lot to get a quick boost. There are a variety of ways to prepare it, and you can pair it with chicken or salmon to get a good source of protein as well. This is a meal you’ll want to eat a couple of hours before your workout, so that it doesn’t sit too heavily in your stomach.
Working out requires a lot from us, both in body and in mind. Most importantly, our bodies need energy to sustain and push through the exercise that we demand from it. Eating a healthy, nutrient-rich meal before you go to the gym will help you get through your workouts and achieve new goals without feeling completely drained and exhausted. It’ll even help after your workout as it can help with muscle repair and growth. When you treat food as fuel, it’s possibilities are endless, and so are yours.
Rachel is a media relations representative for Orangetheory Fitness. In her spare time she enjoys writing, hiking, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.