Everyone has their magic elixir of what they consume before training, but it is largely based on how the individual reacts to that certain food or combination of it. If you aren’t eating anything a couple hours before training, you are doing your body a disservice. Don’t rely on pre-workout supplements to give you “energy” for your training.
Use whole foods as your pre-workout fuel! Here are some sources of nutrition you can use:
Honey: Studies have shown that honey is one of the most effective forms of carbohydrate to eat just before exercise. This is especially true if you need something that is easily digestible and gets into your system quickly. You can usually consume this minutes before training without any digestive issues.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is great to have a couple 1-2 hours before training for sustained energy as it has a low glycemic index, which provides a sustained release of energy into the bloodstream. You can mix in fruit, peanut butter, nuts, seed, and even some honey to add some substance. I favor nut butters over whole nuts before workouts, because they are more easily digestible since they are grounded up already.
Dates: Dates are high in the potassium and magnesium electrolytes. Without the proper amounts of electrolytes you can experience muscle fatigue, which can lead to a feeling of tiredness. A lot of endurance athletes make dates into Daterade that can be used before, during, and after training!
Smoothies: Smoothies are great before or after a workout. When you think about it, smoothies are pretty much predigested food, like babies eat. This means it doesn’t take much energy to digest so your body can focus on supplying energy and blood to parts of the body that need it most.
Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins A, C, and E which are powerful sources of antioxidants and help in muscle recovery. They also have a low glycemic index.
Chia seeds: Chia seeds have the ability to prolong hydration and electrolyte retention of the body during exercise. They also contain all nine essential amino acids, which are needed in our diet for protein synthesis to recover and rebuild muscle.
Beets: Beets have nutrients in it that inhibit nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide increases blood flow, enhances muscle contraction, and improves neurotransmission (muscles will fire more rapidly and more muscles will be recruited). This improves oxygen usage, and keeps the muscles from getting fatigued.
Optimize your body with these key foods for better results on and off the mat!