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Your Best Pre-Workout Foods

by Cheryl Lock

Depending on the type of workout you're planning, you should figure out what types of meals and/or snacks will provide you with the most stamina. Here are some of the best for certain types of activity.

Depending on the type of workout you're planning, you should figure out what types of meals and/or snacks will provide you with the most stamina.

"With eating before a workout, it's best to time your meals so that you eat two to four hours before exercising," says Amy Gorin, nutrition expert in the New York City area and contributing blogger.

Gorin also suggests aiming for a meal that's about 300 to 800 calories (which will differ depending on certain factors like your weight, the intensity and length of the workout, and how often you eat other meals or snacks).

Here are some of the best foods that Gorin recommends based on certain types of activity.

For Endurance Workouts

What you need:

Carbohydrates are important for endurance activities like running, swimming, biking or team sports like soccer.

"Versus a high-fat diet, a high-carb diet has been found to allow runners to exercise more than twice as long before reaching exhaustion," says Gorin. Aim for a meal high in carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat.

Meal Suggestion:

Two slices of whole-wheat toast with almond butter and sliced bananas; or oatmeal made with low-fat milk and dried cranberries mixed in.

For Strength Workouts

What you need:

During strength training, your body uses protein to build muscle, so it's important to consume a meal that is rich in both protein and carbohydrates before exercising.

"The carbohydrates are necessary to provide proper energy to fuel the workout," says Gorin. "If an athlete were to consume ample protein but not enough carbohydrates, then the protein that's consumed may be used up to provide energy, instead of going toward building muscle."

Meal suggestion:

Whole-grain wrap with turkey and veggies; or low-fat Greek yogurt with berries and puffed-rice cereal.

For Balance Workouts

What you need:

For workouts like Pilates or yoga, which utilize balance and focus on core strength, the intensity of your workout will dictate what you eat beforehand.

"Eat a smaller meal if the workout isn't going to very intense and focuses more on stretching," says Gorin. "If it's more of an aerobic workout, then you can increase the calories a little."

Meal suggestion:

An omelet (made with one egg and two eggs whites) with veggies, served with a slice of whole-grain toast; or whole-wheat pasta salad with roasted veggies, chickpeas and sliced black olives.

For Flexibility Workouts

What you need:

For a workout that includes mostly stretching that won't burn a large number of calories, Gorin suggests aiming for the lower end of the calorie range so you aren't consuming more calories than you'll end up burning off.

Meal suggestion:

Fruit smoothie made with low-fat yogurt and peanut butter; or mixed-greens salad with grilled chicken, bulgur and veggies.


Article: Copyright ©, Studio One.

Fitness & Exercise - Your Best Pre-Workout Foods