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You woke up bright and early, or got out of office earlier than usual and can't wait to get an intense workout to either begin or finish the day on a strong note. In either scenario, however, preparation isn't just about showing up - a lot goes behind the perfect day in the gym or at the park, like the right nutrition before your exercise routine. What you eat before exercise and when you do it is just as important as following a diet as it has a big effect on the kind of results or goals you're after.

Our diet plays a huge factor in this journey towards fitness. Eating clean, avoiding junk food or excess sweets, keeping the intake of alcohol low are all necessary in this regard, but as is what you eat or shouldn't before you dive into your training. 

Here's how it all connects: our muscles need to be provided with increased blood flow while exercising, but if you have eaten a heavy meal, that circulation is working towards helping you digest that food. This can cause you to tire early into your workout as your muscles aren't getting enough blood circulation.

You shouldn’t add complex carbohydrates and high fiber to your diet before a workout as they are comparatively harder to digest. Your diet plays a huge role in transforming your body into how you want it to look. Here are a few things you should and should not have just prior to a fitness session.

  1. What to eat before workout
  2. What not to eat before a workout

While it is never a good idea to eat a heavy meal before a workout, starving yourself before a busy gym session isn't great either. The body needs additional reserves of energy to burn during a workout, along with nutrition to keep you going. Consuming a meal full of proteins and carbs is helpful to avoid fatigue during a workout.

Exercising makes us sweat; draining energy, water as well as salts which can be helped with hydration drinks, but a meal rich in minerals, carbohydrates and proteins provides energy and allows you to train longer. But make sure to consume a small amount maintain a low calorie intake.

Eat daliya (Bulgur wheat) before workout to recover faster

This local Indian wheat protein is a great source of all your pre-workout needs. Daliya, or bulgur wheat, contains 83 kcal of energy, 3 gm of protein, 18.6 gm of carbohydrates, 4.5 gm fiber and 77.8 gm water in a 100 gm serving. According to Havard Medical School, daliya has a low glycemic index, and a nutrition-rich bowl of daliya can sustain you for longer. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals which helps accelerate the recovery process during the workout. But a considerably heavier meal like daliya must be had a few hours before workouts.

Fuel up with peanut butter before gym

Fueling up just before a rigorous training session can be done through carbohydrates. Complex carbs convert into glucose to provide energy to the body, and sources like peanut butter can fulfill those duties very well. Peanut butter contains 25-30 percent of protein which helps in muscle growth and recovery. Spread a spoon full of peanut butter on brown bread and have it 15 minutes before your workout to keep your energy levels up.

Banana a great snack before workout

A single banana is a solid source of energy to keep you fueled as it is rich in sugars that sustain you throughout the workout. Whether it is in the morning or evening, this potassium-rich fruit is an ideal pre-workout source ahead of a training session, and convenient to carry around and consume it prior to hitting the gym.

Beetroot a pre-workout supplement

According to a study by the Journal of Applied Physiology, beetroot works as well as a pre-workout supplement. It contains nitrates that, when converted to nitric oxide, carries higher levels of oxygen throughout the body during exercise. Like bananas, it also contains potassium, vitamin B and magnesium and digests quickly in the body, making it a great instant source of energy before exercise, and can be consumed raw or in juice form.

Try these foods just before a workout

Instead of loading up on a heavy meal, it is a better idea to consume a food that can give you can instant source of energy just before a workout to keep you going. These include:

  • Greek yoghurt
  • Fruits such as bananas, apples, oranges or grapes
  • An energy bar made of dry cereal
  • Juice or
  • A spoon or two of peanut butter

Make sure you don’t consume anything that goes over 200 calories as it becomes difficult to burn it.

We have been to the foods you need before a workout to fuel up. Now, it's time to focus on what not to eat before a workout. Eating large meals or fat and fiber-rich foods can make it hard for your stomach to digest. This process drains your energy really quickly that you feel fatigued while exercising. Foods that can be great after an exercise can be harmful to your body so be aware of what not eat before workout.

Don’t eat dairy products before workout

Dairy products should always be consumed after a workout session. There is a misconception of drinking milk before a workout for extra energy and increase in performance. On the contrary, much like other dairy products, milk is slow to digest and can’t provide energy to the body as it has a low glycemic index.

Although recent studies suggest milk can be consumed before training as an energy source, it has greater benefits if consumed after, as it is a good source of protein. 

Whole grain bread and its effects on exercise

Foods rich in fiber content must be avoided before a workout as it can cause an upset stomach. Although good for digestion, fiber is digested in the colon and takes longer to do so, which means the stomach is working harder and using up more blood than the muscles, which need the circulation to develop.

Green vegetables are not good for workout

Green veggies are good for our overall health due to the high amount of fiber and minerals in them. However, consuming them before a workout session can have an adverse effect on the body. Iyou’re planning to have a meal of green vegetables before a workout, do so at other times of the day. Green vegetables also take longer to digest.

Don’t go 'nuts' before any workout

Nuts are a good source of fat and play an essential role in our diet. Consuming nuts on a daily basis can be beneficial for overall health, but it can be a bad choice to add them in your pre-workout regime as they are fat-rich and therefore harder to digest. Before a workout, we need more energy and protein instead of fats. Your fat consumption should take place at a different time of day, prefereably at least two hours before a workout session.

Stay away from energy drinks before workout

Energy drinks are marketed to give you a sudden burst to lift your performance, but it is not necessarily a pre-workout drink. Energy drinks are packed with caffeine and increase the heart rate and blood pressure, but it can also leave you dehydrated sooner. In addition, energy drinks can also be carbonated, which can make the person feel bloated or burp during exercise.

It is common practice to not eat a heavy meal before an intense training session as it will slow you down among many other things, but to be on the safe side it is always adviseable to eat something a least 2-3 hours before you begin your routine, as it gives enough time for your body to digest the food properly. However, it is always a good idea to consume something that provides you with an extra ounce of energy for you to be able to power through your session.

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