Fueling properly before a workout is crucial for boosting performance, maintaining energy levels, and powering through without bonking. The physiology behind why proper pre-workout fueling is so important comes down to how our body uses macronutrients for energy. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for moderate to high intensity exercise. The glycogen stored in the muscles and liver provide carbohydrate reserves that deplete as a workout continues. Consuming carbohydrates 1-2 hours before a workout helps maximize and replenish glycogen stores so you start exercise with available energy. Protein provides amino acids that help prevent muscle breakdown during training. The protein pre-workout also helps kickstart the muscle recovery process. Healthy fats provide sustained energy and help maintain hormonal balance. Eating the right blend of carbs, protein, and fats before exercise provides immediate fuel for a productive workout and primes your body for optimal recovery afterwards.
Here are nutritious and delicious pre-workout snack recipes to make:
Greek Yogurt Protein Smoothie
Blending Greek yogurt with fruit, protein powder, and nut butter provides the ideal nutrient combo. Try this recipe:
- 1 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1⁄2 banana
- 1 tbsp. almond butter
- 1⁄4 cup ice
- 1⁄4 cup oats
Blend all ingredients until smooth. The Greek yogurt provides a hefty 15 grams of protein plus probiotics. The banana gives approximately 15 grams of carbs for energy. Almond butter adds plant-based fat, fiber, and vitamin E. Add the oats if you need more sustained energy for endurance workouts. This recipe also works well with frozen berries instead of banana.
Turkey & Avocado Wrap
For a savory, salty pre-workout snack, try this high protein turkey wrap:
- 1 100% whole wheat tortilla
- 3 oz sliced turkey breast
- 1⁄4 medium avocado, sliced
- 1 slice provolone cheese
- Sliced tomatoes, lettuce, onions, etc.
Assemble the wrap with turkey first, then cheese and sliced avocado inside. The turkey provides over 20 grams of protein, while the avocado gives healthy fats and fiber. The whole wheat wrap contributes quality carbohydrates.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls
Make a batch of these tasty no-bake energy bites for pre-workout snacks throughout the week:
- 1 cup quick oats
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 1⁄4 cup chopped nuts
- 2 tbsp chia or flaxseed
- 1⁄4 cup chocolate chips
Combine the oats, protein powder, nut butter, sweetener, seeds, and nuts. Add just enough water to allow the mixture to come together. Form into balls, then roll in chocolate chips. This gives you carbohydrates from the oats, plant-based protein, natural sweetness, and healthy fats.
Properly fueling before exercise is just as key as training itself. Try out these balanced pre-workout snack recipes to prevent hunger, maintain energy, and set yourself up for a successful sweat session.