Gyms reopening this week has brought delight to fitness fanatics across the country. For a great many people, this will mean that workout routines can be picked up where they left off and progress can be made once again, after months of using water bottles for dumbbells and running in the rain.
Whether you plan to hit the treadmill hard, have a go on the rowing machine, or get back into your upper body and lower body workouts, it’s a good idea to fuel up before you begin. You’re just never going to perform at your best when you’re exercising on an empty stomach, and eating the right snack about an hour before your workout can help you to build muscle and recover much more successfully, too.
You don’t need to eat too much, though, because that can have its own drawbacks. And finding a snack that has the perfect balance of fats, carbs and proteins can be a tricky thing. So we pulled together some of our favourites, to help you find your perfect pre-workout fix.
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Peanut butter on whole grain toast
Peanut butter on toast is an ideal pre-workout snack because it combines carbs, which give you energy, and protein, which is necessary for healthy muscle growth and recovery. It’s also delicious, especially when spread on whole grain toast, which is full of fibre. You can also try scattering some chia seeds over the top for some added protein.
Even just a single handful of almonds can provide you with a great protein fix, and they’re packed full of fibre which will keep you feeling full throughout your workout. They’re also a super easy snack to carry with you and have on the go.
Smoothies are a great pre-workout snack when made with the right foods. Make sure you get plenty of protein in there with yoghurt and nut butter, and add fruits and oats to give you energy. The great thing about smoothies is that they are so versatile, so you can keep switching up your ingredients to ensure you never get bored.
Yoghurt and granola
A bowl of Greek yoghurt with granola is another great option. The yoghurt is packed with protein and it is also low in sugar, while the granola is full of easy-to-digest carbs which will keep you energised during your workout. You can add some fibre-rich fruits, too, to make sure you stay full when you hit the gym.
Cereals are a quick and tasty option for your pre-workout snack. Try opting for a protein or carb-rich cereal, and pair it with a high-in-protein milk alternative, such as soy or oat milk.
For a quick and easy choice, try a banana. They are carb-rich, high in fibre and packed full of potassium, which boosts your energy. They’re also a great option if you’ve left eating until the last minute. Since they’re so easy to digest, you should be able to have one around 10 minutes before your workout without any ill effects.
Oatmeal is easy on the stomach and full of slow-release carbohydrates, which will give you the energy you need to power on through your gym session. It’s also delicious when paired with your favourite toppings, like fruit, honey or nut butter. However, it can be pretty filling, so it’s wise to eat this at least an hour (if not more) before you exercise.
For a quick, healthy and easily transportable fix of carbohydrates, pop a packet or container of dried fruit in your bag and eat a handful or two when you’re on your way to the gym. It’s high in fibre and carbs, and you can easily mix up your selection. You can also mix your fruits in with a handful of nuts, to help you get your protein in too.
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