Woman to Women
A Bite before the Burn
Best pre-workout snacks to maximize your workout and help you feel great!
By: Jessica M. Love
Scenario 1: It’s 5:30 p.m. You’ve just made it to the gym after work. You’re ready for your exercise, but you’re starving!
Scenario 2: It’s 6:45 a.m. You just woke up and pulled your running shoes out for a little exercise before the workday. Your stomach is growling.
But your mother always said not to eat before you exercise because you’ll get a cramp or get sick.
Wrong! To deny your body food before it works hard for you is just cruel, and it’s unhealthy. To maximize your calorie burning and ensure that your body runs its best, you must fuel it properly (read: eating jump-starts your metabolism, which means you’ll burn calories more quickly).
With these quick snack suggestions, you’ll consume the appropriate pre-workout food and you’ll avoid cramps. Just be sure to eat half an hour before your workout in order to digest the food properly!Snack options should be combinations of protein and complex carbohydrates – the two components an active body needs. When you work out, your body uses carbohydrates as its energy, so it’s important to eat carbs. Whole-grain, high-fiber carbs are best, as they are the most nutrient-rich and your body won’t burn through them as quickly as it would “fluffy” carbs (such as white bread, potato chips, etc.).
As for protein? It is the building block of muscle. As you work out, you break down your muscles, and you must replenish that protein in order to rebuild them. This will ensure that your work-out is an efficient one – one that builds muscle instead of breaking it down.
Almonds and veggies
Six to eight almonds paired with a few carrot sticks or broccoli bites are extremely beneficial to a workout. Almonds have “good fat” and are high in protein. Because they’re so substantial, just a few will curb your hunger. The veggie component, a complex carbohydrate, will serve as your energy booster. This quick combo will leave you feeling satisfied but not full.
Ever heard that potassium keeps your body from cramping (especially those killer side cramps)? Say hello to a banana. This food is potassium-rich and filling. Bananas are a complex carb, and just one definitely gives you the energy necessary to work up a real sweat.
A slice of whole-wheat bread with peanut butter
It’s a triple threat! Fiber … protein … natural fats. Your body needs calories to burn, so why not indulge it? Peanut butter is high in fat, yes, but mostly natural fats (similar to almonds). Whole-wheat bread will satisfy your carb craving. Think bread will fill you up too much? Have a few apple slices with your peanut butter instead.
Turkey and a few Triscuits
Take a slice of turkey – a lean protein – and slap it onto a couple of Triscuits-another high-fiber, complex-carb food. Why is this good? Similar to the other protein-fiber-carbohydrate combos, it fuels your muscles with protein and gives you some of the nutrients you can only get in foods that are whole grain and fiber-rich.