Choosing Good Pre-Workout Meals | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Choosing Good Pre-Workout Meals

March 12, 2013 | Branson Lee

Must See Nutrition Videos

As an athlete, you make the right decisions for your performance by heading to the gym for daily workout sessions, so don't make a wrong one by neglecting a pre-workout meal. (Read Guidelines for Effective Pre-Workout Nutrition.) What you eat before each workout session dramatically influences how you perform.

The secret to a good pre-workout meal isn't necessarily the food itself but what it contains. In order to properly get you through a workout, your meal needs to provide a combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates. Take success in your own hands with these great options.

Egg Whites With Whole Grain Toast

Egg whites are great because they're low in fat and rich in fast-digesting protein. When paired with whole grain toast, they supply the nutrients you need to get through your workout without a significant decline in energy.

Egg whites are also fast to prepare, so they're perfect for early morning workout sessions.

Oatmeal With Casein Protein Powder

Oatmeal is a slow digesting carbohydrate, so you won't crash midway through your workout session. Complex carbs have been shown to aid fat oxidation during exercise. And since casein protein powder is also slower digesting, it delivers a steady stream of protein over time.

Note: if you move into your workout immediately after eating, a whey isolate protein powder is a better choice, because it is faster-acting. (See Ask the Experts: What's the Difference Between Whey and Casein Protein?)

Tuna and Whole Wheat Pita

Canned tuna in water is fat-free, and it's an excellent source of lean protein. Whole wheat pita offers a solid source of energy to keep you going throughout your entire workout session.

Just don't add any high-fat condiments (like mayonnaise) to this pre-workout meal. Fat content should be kept low to prevent cramping. (See The Most Hardcore Snacks in Sports.)

Chocolate Milk

If you can't tolerate the thought of solid food before a workout, chocolate milk works well, as long as your session isn't too long in duration. It provides some protein and carbohydrates, but the carbs are simple in nature, so you could experience a low blood sugar if you plan to exercise longer than 45 minutes.

If you plan to work out longer, add a complex carbohydrate such as a slice of whole-wheat toast.

Finished with your workout? Learn how to recover faster with Post-Workout Foods for Any Occasion.

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

The Case for Red Meat

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Boston Cannons'

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices