When we talk about a pre-workout meal, we mean by that the meal that we eat before training. You must have heard people talking all over the gym asking each other what did you eat before you come to the gym for a pre-workout you look drained, and the answer is always fast food or some sort of junk food.
Because of that, we are going to list the best natural pre-workout foods to eat before training.
Some people might complicate things and tell you that you should buy a pre-workout powder to energize yourself. While in fact, you could get the benefits of a pre-workout supplement without spending much money.
The answer is natural foods.
If you doubt that natural food can be more beneficial than supplements ask yourself that, how did people in the old ages lived and they were very strong. Did they have supplements?
The answer is always no. They depended only on natural food. When you combine certain foods together, you would be able to make the magical meal that will enter your body and give you energy.
There are a lot of options and choices when it comes to choosing a pre-workout meal. But today, we are going to list some vegetarian options as today’s world tend to be more vegetarian.
Also, if you are not vegetarian that does not mean that you will not benefit from these meals. Vegetarians have many good sources of protein and carbohydrates. The almighty fruits and vegetables, Could you ignore them?
Why is the pre-workout meal important?
A good and complete pre-workout meal is optimal for your training journey. You might have heard people say its 20% training and 80% nutrition, right? nearly most of the 80% of the nutrition part consists of the pre and post-workout meals which is often called “Pre-workout meal”.
The pre-workout meal is crucial to give you the energy needed to support and increase your training performance at the gym. Try not to eat before training for 3 hours or more, you will feel drained and your muscles will eventually feel flat and tired.
This is because you drained your glycogen stores as well as not having enough energy available to assist your workout.
Another importance of the pre-workout meal is that it allows your body to recover and build muscle mass. Your body needs its protein synthesis high so it can build muscle and recover from hard training.
Having a proper pre-workout meal will allow your body to start recovering directly after finishing your workout.
What should a pre-workout meal consist of?
Protein is a main component in the pre-workout meal. Because as we know, protein is the macronutrient that is responsible for building muscle and responsible for recovery. When you eat protein prior to training, you allow your muscles to be built and get recovered.
As a vegetarian, you should eat proteins that are complete. Because most of the vegan proteins lack in one or two essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the amino acids that are required in order to build muscle and grow.
Some sources that are complete proteins are:
- Beans combined rice
- Eggs and dairy for vegetarians
Carbohydrates are the main and the fastest source of energy used by the body. The human body can utilize carbohydrates so it can improve your training performance and provide you with the energy needed to complete your workout.
Carbohydrates can be less important for you if you train in long-distance sports. Someone like a marathoner would not benefit much from carbohydrates in the pre-workout meal. However, in nearly 99% of sports, your pre-workout meal should consist of starchy carbohydrates mixed with a fruit source.
Some good sources of carbohydrates include:
- Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
- Banana, Apple, and watermelon
- Broccoli and legumes
Caffeine is known to improve training performance and aid in burning fat. For that reason, your pre-workout meal should consist of caffeine so you can increase your focus and performance leading to more effective and easier workouts.
Caffeine can be found the most in caffeine supplements, coffee, tea, and green tea.
Best Homemade Pre-Workout Meals
1. Oats with Fruits, Milk, and Chia Seeds
Oats is a great source of carbohydrates that is complex and Low-GI. Low-GI stands for Low Glycemic Index, which refers to how fast the body absorbs the sugar. Some experts suggest that low glycemic index carbohydrates are better pre-workout to avoid a spike in insulin.
But this only affects you if you ate a High-GI carbohydrate source alone pre-workout, which does not happen often.
The added apples allow your body to utilize fructose, milk, and chia seeds are for added protein and vitamins.
2. Soy Beans With Basmati Rice Sided with Banana
The Soybeans are a great source of complete vegetarian protein that when combined with basmati rice, it gives you a complete pre workout meal. Basmati rice is a Low-GI complex carbohydrate source that will fuel your workout.
With the added banana, you will have a lot of minerals and vitamins along with a different source of carbohydrates for better carbohydrate utilization.
3. Sweet Potatoes with Tofu sided with Watermelon
Sweet potatoes are tasty and starchy carbohydrates that are popular as a pre workout meal. You will see the most popular bodybuilders and athletes eating it as their pre-workout meal.
Along with Tofu and Watermelon, you will have a complete source of protein to enhance the building muscle process and recovery, and a source of arginine, which will give you a great pump and will improve your endurance.
4. Pasta with Lentils
Pasta is another great source of starchy complex carbohydrates that will provide you the energy needed for your workouts.
When combined with lentils, you will have a complete source of protein that will enhance recovery and building muscle and a carbohydrate source that will give you energy.
Of course, you can add broccoli or any legumes you would like to for increased vitamins and minerals.
5. Don’t Forget To Drink Coffee
Include coffee in any pre-workout meal you are going to choose. Drinking coffee pre-workout will provide you with the caffeine needed to increase your training performance and focus.
Ideally, you will sweeten your coffee with artificial sweeteners. Try to avoid sugar as it would spike your insulin prior to your training.
What is the best timing for the pre-workout meal?
Now that we know that the pre-workout meal is important and crucial for my performance at the gym. When should I eat it? What is the best timing to optimize my training and optimize the benefits of the pre-workout meal? The answer is, it depends.
The timing of your pre-workout meal is affected by numerous factors including the type of foods the meal consists of, the individual ability to eat, and hunger levels.
The type of food eaten in the pre-workout meal affects the timing because if you ate something that will last long to be digested and absorbed like fats, you will need to eat 2-3 hours before training to allow your body to digest and absorb the food eaten properly.
On the other hand, if you ate some snacks, you can eat them before training by 30min to 2 hours.
The timing depends on the individual because each one of us can handle foods differently. I can eat sweet potatoes for example before training by 1 hour and perform very well in the workout.
On the other hand, someone else can do that and get bloated, and his/her training gets affected.
A general rule of thumb is to eat your pre-workout meal before training by a window short as 30 minutes and as long as 3 hours. This will ensure full and ready energy stores and will allow for recovery and enhance the muscle-building process.
Natural foods are the best thing you will invest your money in when it comes to a pre-workout meal. A pre-workout supplement will cost you a lot while you can have its benefits with natural food so what’s the point?
The timing and the sources of the pre-workout meal are crucial to optimize its benefits. A pre-workout meal should consist of a complete protein source, a starchy carbohydrate source, a fruit source, and a caffeine source.
We have listed the best natural homemade pre-workout meals for you that will optimize your training and will provide you with the benefits of any pre-workout supplement.