When you’re planning a workout, there’s already so much to think about… what type of exercise, how many reps, staying hydrated.. etc. I just started getting my own exercise regimen in and it’s tough (read here!). It’s no wonder that we forget that what we put in our bodies is also an important part of our workout routine! So, what should we eat as the best pre work out foods?
The main function of carbs in our diet is to provide us with energy. While eating carbs before a workout provides fuel for our muscles, eating the right type helps to promote optimal fat oxidation as well.
British researchers found that when women who ate a breakfast that rated low on the glycemic index 3 hours before walking 60 minutes on a treadmill, they burned almost TWICE the amount of fat during exercise compared to those who ate a breakfast with a high glycemic index rating.
A good source of fibre, complex carbs like oats take longer to digest than their refined counterparts. As a result, oatmeal scores low on the glycemic index because it doesn’t cause blood sugar levels to spike rapidly!
When it comes to naturally enhancing athletic performances, beets may be hard to beat!
A US study found that fit individuals ran faster when they ate 200 g of baked beets (about 4 medium sized beets), 75 minutes before running 5 km on a treadmill.
Although beets contain a number of important nutrients, it’s believed that the nitrates found within the beets are responsible for the performance-enhancing effect. Nitrates derived from vegetables may increase oxygen delivery to muscles by improving blood flow!
Packed full of health-promoting nutrients and a surprising source of muscle-building protein, watercress is a nutritional superstar! Preliminary research suggests that the many antioxidants found in this super green may protect the body from damage caused by free radicals produced during intense exercise.
Scottish researchers found that when men ate approximately 85 g (2 1/2 cups) of watercress before an intense workout, the antioxidants in their blood increased, while DNA damage caused by the release of free radicals decreased!
Better yet, the researchers also found that eating watercress 2 hours before exercise offered the same DNA-protecting benefit as eating it consistently over a period of weeks.
Brimming with antioxidants, like vitamin C & beta carotene, watermelon may easy the pain of a tough workout. Athletes who drank watermelon juice an hour before exercising experienced significantly less muscle soreness compared to consuming a placebo drink.
Files taken from Stephanie Raymond, “8 Great Workout Foods”