Two things are most important for a healthy body – exercise and a balanced diet. It is said that as much exercise and other physical activity is necessary for a healthy body, it is equally important to take balanced nutrition. In such a situation, people often only take care of what to eat throughout the day, but very few people pay attention to what to eat before a workout. Let us tell here that pre workout meal is also most important for a healthy lifestyle.
The Importance of Eating Before Your Workout
Taking the right diet before gym workout improves the performance of the athlete. Due to this, energy remains in the body for a long time and the person does not get tired quickly. Not only does it keep one energized for longer, but can also help prevent muscle damage. Taking the right pre-workout meal can help you do any exercise for a long time . Various types of nutrients are included in sufficient quantity in the diet before gym workout. These include calories, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, etc.
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Right Nutrients Prior to Exercise
If this question also comes in your mind that what to eat before going to the gym, then let us tell that before exercise, the body especially needs three types of nutrients – carbohydrates, proteins and fats. All three of these nutrients in the right amounts can help the body run smoothly and not tire easily . Come, let us tell you about them in detail.
Carbohydrates : Carbohydrates are considered an essential part of the pre workout meal. It is said that taking a carbohydrate-rich diet before exercise helps the body retain energy for a long time. Carbohydrates help in glycogen storage in the body. This glycogen can act as fuel for the body during exercise. In its absence, a person can feel tired quickly .
Fat : Many people believe that people who stay fit do not consume any kind of fat-rich diet, whereas this is just a myth. You will be surprised to know that fat has been considered an important part of the diet before gym workout. In this regard, a scientific research has been published on the website of NCBI National Center for Biotechnology Information. Research conducted on athletes has revealed that consuming a fat-rich diet can help athletes run longer . A high-fat diet is said to increase the amount of free-fatty acids in the blood, which in turn increases lipid metabolism, that is, the conversion of lipids in the body into energy. With its help, it can help in maintaining energy in the body for a long time .
Protein : Protein is also considered an essential mineral in the pre-workout meal . You must have seen many athletes and gym goers consuming protein shakes. In the research available from NCBI, it has also been told about the consumption of protein supplements. In fact, protein can help exercise individuals increase muscle mass and maintain performance . Along with this, protein can also help in improving tissue .
Beverages : Many times people pay a lot of attention to eating before the gym, but forget water and other beverages. During exercise, a lot of sweat comes out of the athlete’s body, due to which it is one of the most important nutrients for the body. Water keeps the body hydrated and maintains the correct body temperature. Energy drinks can also be consumed after a workout .
What amount of nutrients should be taken?
It is not enough just to consume essential nutrients, but it is also necessary to take them in the right quantity. Consuming them in unbalanced amounts will not benefit and can also cause harm. All these nutrients have their own role to play and for the proper functioning of the body, it is necessary to take all the nutrients in a right proportion. Research suggests that a balanced pre-workout meal should contain 20 percent protein, 30 percent carbohydrates, and 30 percent fat. The remaining 20 percent can be met with fat and carbohydrates depending on the type of workout.
What is the timing of a pre-workout meal?
Keeping in mind what to eat before going to the gym, it is important to keep in mind that they should be taken at the right time. It is necessary to maintain the energy and performance of the exerciser. Below we have told which nutrients should be taken in the diet before going to the gym, although everyone’s body is not the same and time can be changed according to exercise, athlete’s gender and health. There is no exact research available related to this, so you can consult your nutritionist regarding this.
Try to have a complete meal consisting of all the nutrients (carbs, fats and proteins) two to three hours before your workout. This will give better proof during exercise.
Carbohydrates and protein-rich snacks can be consumed one to two hours before a workout. Whereas, yogurt or any fruit can be consumed 45 to 60 minutes before.
Try to eat as light as possible in the short time you have to work out.
Avoid eating high fiber and high fat foods during this time.
Carb + protein rich beverages can be consumed 30 minutes before exercise. The type of this drink depends on the body of the person, so before consuming it must talk to your dietician.
Some Examples of Pre-Workout Meals
The pre-workout meal depends on how long before your gym workout you are having it. We are giving some examples of pre-workout diet below, but it can be changed according to each person’s body, health and workout:
What to eat three hours before workout :
Lean proteins (foods with more protein and less fat), sweet potatoes, grilled vegetables, and roasted nuts.
Mushroom soup and rice with vegetables.
- A whole wheat roti, chana dal and steamed/sautéed vegetables in less oil.
- What to eat two hours before workout :
- Apple, banana or papaya slices in a bowl of oatmeal
- Sunflower or peanut butter on a slice of bread
- Protein powder and berries in a glass of milk
- What to eat an hour before workout :
- a banana/apple/orange
- 1 cup Greek yogurt and 1 peach
- A cup of black coffee and a multigrain biscuit
What to eat before workout?
If you also have a question regarding pre-workout nutrition, what to eat before going to the gym, then read this part of the article carefully. Here we will tell about such food items, whose consumption before exercise can help in maintaining energy throughout the workout. In this, we have also included some great pre-workout meal recipes that can be easily made at home. So let’s start:
Banana has been described as a good source of energy in the pre workout diet. In a research published by NCBI, it has been found that when some cycling athletes were given bananas and some were given a drink containing carbohydrates, there was not much difference in the energy of both. And, being a good source of antioxidants, athletes who consumed bananas also had less post-exercise oxidative stress. At the same time, athletes who consumed bananas also had higher serum dopamine levels. Dopamine hormone can be helpful in maintaining energy in the athlete’s body and not getting tired quickly.
2. Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat bread can also be consumed before working out. They are a good source of carbohydrates and as we have said that it is necessary to include the right amount of carbohydrates in the pre workout meal. Whole wheat bread contains complex carbohydrates. Foods containing these are rich in energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals and are low in fat. For this reason, they can be included in the diet before going to the gym.
3. Dry Fruits and Nuts
The benefits of consuming various types of dry fruits and nuts before a workout have also been seen. Nuts are an excellent source of energy, due to which it can be said that their consumption can help in maintaining energy during exercise. It has also been reported in this research that people who consumed 20 grams of dry fruit daily had higher energy intake, but their weight, body mass index and waist size were less. At the same time, it has also been told that their consumption together can also be helpful in reducing waist size (wise circumfrance).
4. Protein Shake
We have already told you how important a nutrient protein is for those who do workouts. Consuming protein before and after exercise helps in muscle protein synthesis. In this process, protein helps repair damaged muscles after heavy exercise. In addition, protein can also be helpful in improving the muscle mass and performance of the exercising person.
Protein shake can be brought from the market. Apart from this, protein shake can also be made at home with the recipe given below.
- 1 medium sliced apple
- One tablespoon almond butter
- a spoonful of dark chocolate
- 1 cup low fat milk
- 1/2 cup curd
- two dates
Method of making :
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend them.
When everything is mixed together, take it out in a glass, add some dark chocolate on top and consume it.
5. Greek Yogurt with Granola and Berries
Did you know that Greek yogurt is a great source of protein? Yes, in a research available from NCBI, it has been confirmed that Greek yogurt is rich in protein. For this reason, it can help maintain energy, muscle mass and body composition (the ratio of fat and non-fat mass) in the exerciser. Along with this, consumption of Greek yogurt can be beneficial for increasing body strength and lean mass and reducing fat mass. A little granola and a variety of berries can also be added. Granola contains carbs and may be helpful in maintaining energy in the body during exercise.
This recipe can be made in the following way.
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- one and a half teaspoon honey
- 1/3 cup granola
- Berries (blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, etc.) as needed
Method of making :
- Wash the berries thoroughly and cut them into small pieces.
- Now mix yogurt and honey in a bowl.
- After this, mix berries and granola in it and consume it.
6. Egg White Omelette and Potatoes
You can also have egg white omelette and potatoes before going to the gym. Egg white ie the white part of the egg is rich in protein and we have explained the importance of protein in the pre workout meal. In addition, a research published on the NCBI website suggests that egg white supplementation may be helpful in increasing muscle strength. At the same time, potatoes are a source of carbohydrates and the starch present in them helps in increasing glycogen storage, which can help in better performance of workouts.
It can be consumed two-three hours before the workout and can be made with the method mentioned below.
- three teaspoons olive oil
- three egg whites
- 1 large onion (thinly sliced)
- a medium sized potato
- a tomato
- halved red/green/yellow bell pepper (optional)
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- Black pepper
Method of making :
- First of all, peel the potatoes and onions and cut them into long and thin slices.
- After this, cut tomatoes and capsicum into small pieces.
- Now take olive oil in a pan for making omelette and add onion and fry it.
- After the onion turns light brown add potatoes, capsicum, salt and black pepper as per taste and cook it.
- Cook it for about 15 minutes, stirring continuously, so that the potatoes do not stick to the bottom.
- Now take the white part of three eggs in a bowl and add salt and black pepper to it and beat it well.
- After this, put the egg in the pan and add chopped tomatoes to it.
- Now cover the pan and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Now when the omelette is completely cooked from above and starts leaving the sides, then turn it gently.
- Now cook it from the other side.
- Finally, put chili flakes on it and eat it.
7. Sago Porridge
It is believed that if you want to lose weight, then there is nothing better than eating oatmeal. At the same time, we all like to eat Sabudana too. So what if we tell you that you can have sago porridge before your gym workout. A research has suggested that sago is a good source of carbohydrates and giving sago porridge as a supplement before workout can be beneficial.
- 1/4 cup sago
- three cups of water
- two cups of milk
- a pinch of cinnamon
- a pinch of cardamom
- Vanilla essence
- Two spoons brown sugar / half spoon condensed milk
Method of making :
- Heat a cup of water and soak sago in it for 10 minutes.
- Put two cups of water in a pan to boil and when the water boils, take out the soaked sago from the water and put it in the pan.
- Now cook it till the water dries up completely and the sago becomes soft.
- After this, mix milk, cinnamon, cardamom and essence in the pan and let it boil.
- When the porridge thickens well, keep it to cool.
- Lastly, add brown sugar or condensed milk to it and consume it.
Many people like to eat oats for breakfast in the morning. There are many benefits of eating oats. Many phytochemicals are found in these, which can be beneficial for health in many ways, such as proteins, vitamins and lipids etc. are found in it. It is said to be rich in lipids, which are a good source of energy. Oats are available in different flavors in the market, which you can take as per your convenience.
It is also necessary to maintain the balance of fluids in the body along with nutrients in what to eat before a workout. In such a situation, such beverages can be consumed before exercise, which can provide all the nutrients and energy in a balanced amount, such as fruit smoothie. In a research published by NCBI, it has been told that fruit smoothie can also help in maintaining full energy in the body like other energy drinks. Smoothies can be made at home with the help of different fruits. Know its recipe below.
- A frozen one
- 2 cups frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
- a cup of milk
- 1/2 cup curd
- Vanilla essence
- two to three teaspoons honey
Method of making :
Put all the ingredients together in a blender and blend.
Now take it out in a glass and garnish it and consume it.
10. Homemade Protein Bar
Protein bars made from soybean can be consumed at home. Being rich in protein, they give all the benefits of protein, but they also have the advantage that they are rich in antioxidants. Heavy exercise increases the effects of free radicals in the body, which can result in increased muscle damage and fatigue. Soy protein bars and their antioxidant properties can help protect against this.
With the help of the recipe given below, you can make protein bars at home.
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup peanut/almond butter
- ½ cup soy milk (unsweetened)
- ½ cup protein powder
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- For Garnish :
- 2 tbsp choco chips
- one teaspoon coconut oil
- finely chopped almonds
Method of making :
- Mix coconut oil, peanut/almond butter and soy milk in a bowl.
- Now microwave this bowl 3 times for 30-30 seconds. After every 30 seconds take out the bowl and mix everything.
- When all the three ingredients are well mixed, prepare the mix by adding protein powder and almond flour to it.
- It may take a few minutes for all the ingredients to mix together.
- Now put butter paper on a big plate or baking tray and put this mixture and spread it well to make a layer.
- Now mix chocochips and one spoon of hot coconut oil in a small bowl. This will melt the chocochips properly.
- Spread this chocolate over the mixture kept in the baking tray.
- Now lightly roast the finely chopped almonds in a pan and pour them over the chocolate.
- Keep this mixture in the fridge for about one to one and a half hours and let it set.
- After freezing well, take them out and cut them into squares.
- Your protein bar is ready.
12. Tofu and Brown Rice
Paneer made from soy milk instead of plain milk is called tofu. It is necessary to include protein in the diet of going to the gym and in this case, the benefits of eating tofu can be found. Tofu can be an excellent source of protein for vegans. Eating brown rice with this has benefits, as it can help control weight and reduce waist and other parts of the lower body. At the same time, the dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin-B and essential fatty acids present in it can be helpful in protecting against various diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes etc.
Tofu and Brown Rice can be made with the method described below.
- ½ cup tofu (about 200 grams)
- one teaspoon olive oil
- a finely chopped onion
- two or three cloves of garlic
- two teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- Half teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- ½ cup frozen corn
- three cups brown rice
- ½ cup peas
- 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
Method of making :
- First of all, cook rice in a vessel.
- After this mash the tofu.
- Now heat a spoonful of olive oil in a pan and add onion and fry till it becomes light golden. After this add finely chopped garlic to the pan and cook.
- After the garlic is cooked, add one spoon of sesame oil, ginger paste, red chili, turmeric powder, salt and tofu to the pan and cook.
- After they are cooked, add one spoon of sesame oil and cooked rice to the pan and mix.
- After about two-three minutes add corn, peas and soya sauce to the pan and cook.
- When all the vegetables and rice are cooked well, turn off the gas.
- Now garnish with coriander and serve.
Benefits of diet before going to the gym
You have come to know what to eat before going to the gym, but do you know why it is important. We state.
- Taking the right pre workout diet does not make you feel tired during exercise.
- Due to having sufficient energy, a person can perform the exercise for a longer time and in the right way.
- The right nutrients help muscles grow.
- Pre workout nutrition can help repair damaged tissue.
- Drinking enough fluids helps in maintaining the right body temperature and keeping the body hydrated.
- Take special care of these things before workout
- Whenever thinking of starting a workout, keep the following things in mind:
- Get a full sleep the night before.
- Take pre workout nutrition.
- Do not exercise immediately after drinking water. Drink water 30-45 minutes before exercise.
- Wear exercise clothes and shoes. Not wearing the right shoes can lead to injury.
- Schedule your exercise and do it at the same time every day.
- Do not stop once you start exercising. If you want, you can increase or decrease the time according to your convenience.
- Warm up thoroughly before heavy exercise.
- Set your target that you want to lose weight, which part you want to reduce, increase etc. and exercise accordingly.
- Use the right equipment and tools for exercise.
Frequently asked questions
Can you exercise on an empty stomach?
No, exercising on an empty stomach can be injurious to health. In this regard, we have explained in detail in the above article.
Is a Pre-Workout Meal Necessary?
Yes, pre-workout nutrition helps you get enough energy for your workout.
Can obesity be reduced quickly by exercising on an empty stomach?
It is a myth that exercising on an empty stomach helps in reducing fat quickly. By doing this there can be weakness in the body.
Can I drink protein shake on an empty stomach?
If you are having a protein shake as a pre-workout drink, then it can be taken on an empty stomach, but if you are having it for breakfast, make sure to have some whole foods along with it.
What not to eat before going to the gym?
Avoid consuming anything heavy like fried things, whole food, sweets and soda etc. before going to the gym.
Can boiled eggs be eaten before a workout?
It is believed that boiled eggs can be eaten two to three hours before the workout. There is no evidence available related to the time of eating it, so do talk to your dietician before consuming it.
Can I drink milk before exercise?
There are benefits to drinking milk after exercising but there is no research available on whether it can be included in a pre-workout diet.
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