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As a workout enthusiast, your main goal is to get your body in the absolute best shape possible.
While hitting the gym and going for a run will obviously test your body’s strength and fitness level, the kind of food that you eat is equally important to the entire process.
In fact, we argue that it’s the most important.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced snack or meal before you start getting sweaty is one of the best ways to prep yourself for an intense workout.
In this epic guide, we’ll show you 99 different recipes for pre-workout snacks that you can easily make no matter your skills in the kitchen.
Oh, and you can even filter the entire list by diet preference and workout type!
Why Pre-Workout Nutrition is Important
Fitness freaks and body-builders everywhere always seem to put a great deal of focus on post-workout meals, but what you put into your body before you start working out deserves just as much attention.
Filling your body with proper nutrition prior to working out will allow you to see considerable gains throughout your entire body, and this is something that’s absolutely necessary if your main goal is to build up your precious muscles.
Additionally, eating a nutritious snack before even touching a dumbbell will give your body the energy it needs to keep moving in order to set a new PR.
The 3 Macros for Well-Balanced Snacks
There are a number of different factors to consider when making pre-workout snacks, but the three main things to keep in mind are the 3 macronutrients — protein, fat, and carbs.
These three components are the most effective and powerful when it comes to getting your body in the best shape possible for an intense workout, as protein aids in its recovery, fat gives you more endurance, and carbs provide your body with the energy it so desperately needs.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how each of those macros actually works:
- Just like a car that needs gas to keep on moving, your body needs its own fuel to do the same thing. Carbs act as the fuel that keeps your body going along, and they’re so critically important due to the way they handle oxygen.
- Carbs are much more efficient with their oxygen use compared to any other type of kilocalorie, and they enable your body to work harder and longer during even the most intense of workout sessions.
- The amount of glycogen that your body stores is dependent on how many carbs your body takes in, and the conversion of glycogen to glucose is what your muscles primarily use as their energy source. This means that the length and intensity of which you can exercise is controlled quite a bit by your glycogen levels, and in order to boost these up, you need to ensure that you have a healthy balance of carbs in your diet.
How much protein, fat, and carbs should you have in your pre-workout snacks?
Now that you know all about the 3 macronutrients and what they do, it’s time to decide how many of these you should consume in order to meet your fitness goals.
Everybody reading this likely has a different/unique goal for their body, and as such, it’s difficult to say just how many macros you should be consuming depending on what sort of results you want to see.
Macro dieting is not something that’s one-size-fits-all, but even with this being the case, there is a general rule of thumb that you can follow in order to get yourself on the right track.
Initially, you’ll want to start out with the following setup:
See how your body reacts to having a balanced spread with carbohydrates at 50% and both protein and fat comprising 25% of your meal.
Once you’ve worked with a setup like this for a while, consider seeking the advice of a nutritionist so you can pinpoint exactly what your overall diet and pre-workout snacks should consist of in order to help you get the best results and athletic performance possible.
Also, pay attention to how your body reacts to different types of foods and each of the three macronutrients. Some people work better with higher protein diets whereas others will feel better while consuming more carbs.
Don’t Forget to Watch the Clock
In addition to watching the amount of macros you have with your pre-workout snacks, it’s just as important to keep track of what time you actually eat them.
Although a pre-workout snack is obviously something you’ll want to eat before you go to the gym or embark on a long run, this doesn’t mean that you should start eating just 5 minutes before you start breaking a sweat.
This is a very common mistake that’s made by a lot of people when they first start out with the whole pre-workout snack game, and it’s one that we want to help you avoid.
When you eat any sort of food, your stomach needs an ample amount of time to properly digest everything. Eating immediately before you workout means that you’ll be putting physical demand on your body while it’s simultaneously trying to digest the food you just ate, and this can result in lackluster performance and/or discomfort.
What we suggest doing is to eat your pre-workout snack around 1 to 3 hours before you plan on being physically active. The exact time you choose will vary depending on how quickly your body is able to fully digest food, and this is something that you can experiment and play around with in order to find the time that works perfectly for you and your body.