In Vancouver, it seems like there is a new workout trend or diet, or combination of both, so often that it’s almost a workout trying to keep up with it all. We each have different ideas about what a healthy body and workout routine is, so it can be overwhelming trying to incorporate all the information into our lives. But no matter what your goals are for working out—whether it’s to lose weight, gain weight, build muscle, or tone what you already have—one thing is true: making sure you eat properly before a workout will add to your success.
Think of it like you are putting high performance fuel into your body so that you can go faster, harder and so that your vehicle (that is, your body) can work as efficiently as possible.
Basically the rule of thumb is that you don’t want anything so heavy that will slow you down, or too full of sugar which will just burn you out. Instead you want something in the middle—foods that are rich in nutrients, and/or have some light carbs, caffeine or protein to keep you going.
Bananas. These tropical fruits are as versatile as they come and make a great on-the-go snack on your way to a workout. Bananas are full of potassium which helps with muscle and nerve function, and they are easily digestible so they won’t bog you down.
If a banana isn’t quite enough, try slicing it up and mixing it with some Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt contains more protein and less refined sugar than regular yogurt and offers a great pre-workout energy boost.
If something crunchy is more your craving, try a couple of handfuls of nut mix. Nuts provide a healthy balance of protein, fat and carbs to give you a solid and sustainable energy blast. Another great idea is to pre chop some raw veggies like carrots and celery, and if you are into dipping, try bringing along some hummus, too. Not only does hummus contain chickpeas, which are excellent source of protein and fibre, it is also made with tahini, or pureed sesame seeds, which contain protein and calcium for strong, healthy bones.
Now, this next one is not for everybody but some people swear by caffeine before a workout. You don’t want to drink too much, so a shot or two of espresso should do the trick. Caffeine can perk you up, generate energy, and quicken the rate that your body burns fat.
Perhaps you are looking for something a little more substantial. In that case, try eating a bowl of oats or a slice of multigrain bread. Both have a great amount of fibre (but not too much that they will make you bloated), and they will give you a slow release of energy throughout the duration of your workout.
Maybe you are amazing at time management and have a little extra time before heading to the gym. In that case, you might want to cook yourself a small meal before working out. Again, think low sugar and high protein and fibre, so a combo of brown rice and chicken or tofu will do the trick. (Or maybe you just have these leftovers from last night’s dinner. That works too!)
The list could go on, but you probably have the idea by now. Think low sugar, high nutrients and high protein. Also remember that carbs and fats are not your enemies, you need them to sustain your energy, burn fat and rebuild muscle.
And remember that every body is different so it’s important to listen to what yours is telling you. If you are craving fruit and veggies, you should probably eat fruit and veggies, it’s your body is telling you what it needs. But pay attention to how they are cooked and try to avoid things that have been deep-fried or smothered in sugar.
At Van Sports Physio, we have an excellent team of physiotherapists ready to answer any questions you might have about your body and how to turn it into the high performance machine it wants to be.