Training on an empty stomach? Your "motor" is guaranteed to run out of gas in the middle of a tough workout, because you haven't "fueled up" enough. A small pre-exercise meal is mandatory to provide energy for intense physical activity, whether it's weight training before school, practice in the afternoon, or a game in the evening. However, before starting your "engine," review these "road signs" to safely guide yourself through a successful workout:
The following sample snacks contain energy-boosting carbohydrates, beneficial fat and muscle-building protein to help you prepare your engine for complete workouts. They take only minutes to prepare and are convenient and portable, easily stored in plastic sandwich bags. Blend 1/3 cup of each food listed in the combinations below. Total calories are in parentheses.
Fresh or dried fruits are excellent energy-boosters—they are sources of complex carbohydrates—and nuts have protein and heart-healthy fats. Fruit and nuts are also rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which not only enhance your immune system, but also boost recovery between workouts, practices and games.
For athletes seeking to gain weight for their sport, who therefore require more time for digestion before exercising, these triple combo snacks have more calories. Carbohydrate-rich dried fruit, popcorn and dark chocolate are heart-healthy foods (athletes need healthy hearts for endurance). Seeds and nuts have protein; and the nuts, seeds and dark chocolate also have healthy fats.