Headed to the gym? Eat this first.
When I was younger, my dad had a favorite analogy he would use for how healthy eating impacted sports performance. He would compare the human body to that of a sleek hotrod car. “Hotrods,” he would tell me, “are state of the art machines that deserve only the best gasoline.” He explained that if the car wanted to be used to its full potential, it needed high performance gas. Anything less than that and the car would sputter, stall and eventually stop.
“Now, Joanna,” he would say with a furrowed brow, “the body is just like that hotrod car. It’s meant to work at its full potential. But if we put unhealthy sugars and fats into our body, it’s going to eventually sputter and stall.” His example has stayed with me over the many years of playing sports and working out. I still think of his analogy when I go on a run on a stomach of, say… gummy worms and a cheese quesadilla, and, even after a short while, I begin to feel like I am running out of gas. It’s a great reminder that our bodies are magnificent machines and need (also, deserve) the premium gasoline.
Below are four options (two morning and two afternoon) for pre-workout snacks. These foods will provide energy and give you endurance throughout your burn. These picks, my friends, are the good gas.
Steel cut oats and berries. Steel cut oats are slowly digested so they will keep you feeling fuller for longer. The complex carbs will give you endurance and energy throughout your workout. Berries are one of the richest foods when it comes to anti-oxidants, which protects from free radical damage. They also have anti-inflammatory properties which helps muscle recovery and damage.
Banana and almond butter. Optional: whole wheat bread. This is one of my favorite snacks. Bananas are givers of energy due to them being a high quality complex carb. They are also rich in potassium, which prevents muscle cramping. Almond butter is high in protein and good fats, which keeps you satisfied throughout your workout. If you want a higher carb count, throw your almond butter and sliced banana on a piece of whole wheat bread!
Farro and steamed broccoli. Farro is one of the healthiest ancient grains, rich in fiber and protein to sustain your energy level. The magnesium that farro provides helps muscle, bone and nerve function. Broccoli supports your body’s detoxification process, is high in fiber, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Pile it on!
Carrots and hummus. Optional: whole wheat crackers. Hummus is a great combination of complex carbs, unsaturated fats, and protein. The carrots add high water content, beta-carotene, fiber, potassium and antioxidants properties to the snack. Carrots are low in calories so if you want to increase your calorie intake, pair with whole wheat crackers or bread.
+What do you like eating before a workout? Please share in the comments!
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