If you’ve ever finished a workout and felt euphoric, it’s not just in your imagination! Studies show that physical activity brings on those feelings thanks to tiny neurochemicals called endorphins, released by your body when you’re exercising. That’s why we often experience an energy boost during the workout and feel ready to fly when finished.
But still, there are days when fatigue takes over, and it gets really hard to push yourself to step into the gym or press play on a workout. In most cases the solution is pretty simple: you just need to add some gas to the tank.
Doctors and nutrition experts agree that there are four essential nutrients types in the best pre-workout meal: carbohydrates, sugar, protein, and electrolytes.
Carbs are the body’s primary energy source as they can be converted into glucose and give you an immediate energizing effect. Sugar is something our body naturally craves when it’s working hard in a fitness class. It’s quickly absorbed by the body and provides an instant and significant energy boost. Protein is not usually used for energy, but it is a necessary aid for post-workout recovery as it helps repair and rebuild muscles. Any sweaty activity leads to salt loss, and electrolytes like sodium and potassium can help your body resume the water-salt balance.
Having a snack before your workout may not only give you a kickstart by replenishing your energy reserves but also increase your performance and endurance – as long as you’re snacking smart and fueling your body with natural, energy-rich, and easy-digestible foods.
Here are our Top 10 simple high-energy healthy snack ideas to power your workout efforts and help you perform at your peak. And for most of them, you won’t spend a single minute cooking!
10 Healthy Pre-Workout Energy Snacks
Grapefruit is guaranteed to boost your energy levels and make you confident about tackling even the most challenging workout. It’s a generally super healthy choice as it’s rich in fiber, contains over 15 vitamins and minerals, and is high in nutrients but low in calories.
Bananas are a quick source of sustained energy. They are rich in natural sugars but fiber-packed, so the sugar is digested more slowly. Plus, bananas are high in potassium and magnesium, both crucial for regulating your body fluid and electrolyte balance and necessary for maintaining proper nerve and muscle function.
Complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and water content make grapes not only an ideal pre-workout snack but a healthy and sweet everyday treat. The compound resveratrol found in grapes is proven to improve energy metabolism, too!
Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries provide a yummy energy boost. They are high in natural antioxidants that help your body create energy at the cellular level and reduce fatigue.
Despite being dried, dates, apricots, and plums retain most of their vitamins and minerals, and contain more natural sugar than their fresh counterparts, which means a more intense energy-boosting effect.
Nuts are high in protein, providing your body the fuel it needs to recover the muscles, and also contain high amounts of unsaturated fats that help reduce the risk of heart diseases. And, depending on the type of nut, they have a pretty high percentage of fiber, important for energy production.
Plain Greek Yogurt is an ultimate pre-and post-workout meal as it contains tons of protein. Plus, it’s very nutritious without being heavy. You may consider adding some berries or granola to consume some healthy sugars.
A granola bar is a nutritious and delicious pre-workout snack delivering a powerful natural energy hit. Granola, and added components like dried fruit, berries, nuts, or honey, are all quick-digesting carbs needed for your muscles to get energy. Stick to bars that are as unprocessed as possible as there can be a lot of hidden sugar in some granola bars.
Honey delivers a decent dose of healthy energy. Its natural unrefined sugars are easily absorbed by the body, providing a fast-released and sustained energy shot. Honey has tons of health benefits as it’s composed of a unique combo of natural sugars, antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, so downing a teaspoon or two of honey every day can be a yummy and beneficial snack.
If you have five minutes and a blender, mix up some of the foods listed above into a light, energy-filled smoothie. The choice of recipes is endless so that you can treat yourself to something new, healthy and delicious every day!
Make sure to eat your pre-workout snack with enough time for your body to digest before you start exercising! Usually, if a workout is under an hour, it’s recommended to eat 30-60 minutes beforehand.
It’s also important to stay hydrated! Plain old water is always the best workout companion. Watermelon is also a refreshing swap; it’s over 90 percent water, contains useful electrolytes, and provides a solid sugar hit to boost energy.
Now, when you’re fueled up and full of energy, go to dailyburn.com to discover thousands of great workouts!
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