Your pre-workout meal often depends on your choice of workout. The best things to eat 30 minutes before a workout include oats, protein shakes, bananas, whole grains, yogurt, fresh fruit, boiled eggs, caffeine and smoothies.
The best things to eat 30 minutes before a workout include oats, protein shakes, bananas, whole grains, yogurt, fresh fruit, and more.

Your pre-workout meal often depends on your choice of workout. Some people prefer doing a “fasted cardio.” This means they run, swim, cycle or jog on an empty stomach because it speeds up the burning of calories. For others, it is a must to munch on a little something before they work out.

Eating before a workout is especially recommended if you want to try resistance training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or lifting weights. Each individual needs to try and determine their pre-workout meal.

An ideal pre-workout meal should be low in fat, moderate in protein, and high in complex carbs. This type of meal provides bursts of energy for a resistance workout and spares your muscles from breaking down.

Examples of a good pre-workout meal may include:

  • Oats
    • During your workout, oats can act as a go-to pre-workout meal. Much like whole grains, they supply tons of energy that are released slowly.
    • Any type of oats, such as steel-cut or whole, may provide a fantastic pre-workout meal. Have oatmeal with added raisins, mashed banana, figs, and some honey drizzled over it.
  • Protein shakes
    • Many studies have reported the potential of pre-workout protein consumption to boost athletic performance.
    • Having protein shakes (in water or low-fat milk) just before exercising can increase muscle protein synthesis and is the best morning pre-workout meal.
  • Bananas
    • Bananas are considered the best morning pre-workout meal.
    • Bananas have double the number of carbs compared to other fruits, such as apples and oranges, which means that they are a more substantial snack that could fuel a prolonged workout.
    • Eating half a banana with peanut butter is a good way to add some protein and fat to your pre-workout meal. This may help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout your workout. You may add banana slices to some low-fat milk as well.
  • Whole grains
    • Whole grains are complex carbs that pack energy. The carbohydrates are slowly released into the bloodstream and help maintain blood sugar levels. 
    • This could enable you to sustain energy levels through an endurance workout longer than 40 minutes.
    • Whole grain dishes include quinoa salads, millet bread, spiced yogurt, whole bread toast, etc.
  • Yogurt and fresh fruit
    • If you have about half an hour before your workout, unsweetened yogurt and fruit can be a practical snack. This is a good source of carbohydrates, some fluid, and nutrients too, making it the best morning pre-workout meal.
  • Boiled eggs
    • Boiled eggs are a great source of protein and their yolk has plenty of nutrition. Combine this with a slice of whole-wheat bread to boost your energy levels.
  • Caffeine
    • Caffeine is one of the most tried-and-tested ways to boost energy.
    • Strong coffee or an energy drink before a workout will give you a great boost.
    • Studies have also shown caffeine has a positive impact on workouts for people who enjoy regular exercise sessions.
    • Always have caffeine with some fruit, nuts, or toast to avoid the jitteriness that accompanies caffeine intake.
  • Smoothies
    • Fresh smoothies are an ideal energy source because they are simple to prepare and provide the nutrients that you need before working out. Avoid sugar and include vegetables in smoothies. Add unsweetened yogurt to your smoothies to give them bulk and flavor.

If it's been a while since your last meal and you want to boost your energy with a snack before a workout, try snacking on easy-to-digest carbs, such as grains, fruits or vegetables and protein (dairy, meat, or protein powders, such as collagen peptides or whey protein isolate). Bananas with peanut butter and Greek yogurt with some fruit are good snack options to eat 30 minutes to one hour before a workout.

What should I eat after working out?

Carbohydrates are usually recommended after your workout, but protein is also important for muscle recovery and repair. Have 10 grams of protein if working out strenuously for 30 minutes.

You could also eat the following:

  • Chocolate milk (or chocolate-flavored protein shake)
  • Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, or pistachios
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • A hard-boiled egg and fruit
  • A smoothie with a full scoop of protein
  • One serving of turkey
  • Cheese with a piece of fruit
  • Hydration is just as important as fueling. Drink water as recommended for your age.

Why does pre- and post-workout nutrition matter?

Following the basics of how to do it right and finding out what works best for you can help you feel fueled and energized after working out. When we feel good during exercise, we are much more likely to go back for more.

  • Eating before and after exercise helps reduce hunger and prevents sugar dips during your session.
  • Furthermore, workout meals provide fuel to support the activity of your muscles and brain, giving you the energy to push harder and longer.

QUESTION

According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

Do leg workouts help you lose belly fat?

what are the benefits of leg workout?
A fat-burning leg workout routine can reduce extra pounds in the midsection of the body (belly fat).

Along with a proper diet and calorie restriction, a fat-burning leg workout routine reduces extra pounds in the midsection of the body as a part of overall weight loss.

Abdominal fat is a type of visceral fat that collects in and around the abdomen. Visceral fat resides in the deep layer around the abdominal organs and possesses a greater health risk than subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin).

A small amount of abdominal fat is normal, but an excess makes a person more likely to develop conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetesheart diseases, dementia, and certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer.

A person with normal weight and body mass index may have excess visceral abdominal fat that could be the reason for various health risks.

What are the benefits of lower body workouts?

Leg muscles belong to the biggest muscle group of the body, the “quadriceps muscle group.” Leg workouts are an essential part of an overall weight loss program.

Here are a few benefits of regular leg workouts:

  • Workouts of this type mainly aim to sculpt the lower part of the body.
  • Stronger legs will significantly improve the performance of other workouts, including cardio training sessions, such as running, walking, and jogging.
  • Contributes to overall weight loss.
  • Helps avoid lower back pain.
  • Helps build muscle mass.
  • Provides a balanced and symmetrical look.

What are the best workouts for abdominal fat?

There is a wide range of exercises to lose abdominal fat, but moves that involve multiple muscle groups, such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts, burn a lot of calories during a workout session.

Some of the simplest yet highly effective exercises to melt abdominal fat include:

  • Aerobic or cardio exercises:
    • Include at least 30 minutes of regular aerobic exercises, such as:
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT):
    • Includes short bursts of intense exercise combined with lower intensity moves and rest periods, such as:
      • Pushing
      • Pulling
      • Squatting
      • Deadlifting
  • Abdominal crunches: Involves all the abdominal muscles but primarily the rectus abdominis muscle and the obliques, which builds muscle mass and tightens the abdomen.
  • Leg lifts: Leg raise improves the strength and flexibility of hips and lower back.

How many times a week should you work out to lose abdominal fat?

Experienced athletes and personal trainers recommend a leg workout three times per week, usually for 15 to 20 minutes.

A leg workout should never be done on more than five consecutive days because the body needs periods of rest to rebuild the muscle tissues that have been stressed by exercise.

About 3,500 calories are needed to be burned to lose one pound. Eating whole, healthy sources of proteins, increasing physical activity, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and maintaining a healthy sleep pattern could help shed off unwanted pounds and improve health status and self-esteem.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/4/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

YMCA of Middle Tennessee: "When and What Should I Eat Before a Workout?" https://www.ymcamidtn.org/healthy-living-resources/blog/ask-rds-when-and-what-should-i-eat-workout

EatRight: "Timing Your Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition." https://www.eatright.org/fitness/exercise/exercise-nutrition/timing-your-pre-and-post-workout-nutrition

WebMD. Causes of Belly Fat. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/ss/slideshow-causes-of-belly-fat

WebMD. Top Exercises for Belly Fat. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/top-exercises-belly-fat#1