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The Best Pre-Workout Foods

Gearing up for a nastily exhausting workout? Top off your tank with the foods that'll keep you going strong.

You're a fit dude. You skip the bad stuff, always get #legday in, and hit the heavy bag hard. But if you want your body to continue performing like a Lamborghini, then you've gotta put in the high-octane fuel—and that means eating the right foods before your workouts.

Even though you may be tempted to skip the calories, don't. Not eating before a workout can result in low blood sugar, which leads to light-headedness and fatigue. “If I don’t have my pre-exercise meal, my workout isn’t the same and it feels like a waste,” says Manuel Villacorta, R.D., author of Eating Free and Peruvian Power Foods. “If you fuel correctly, you’ll work out harder.”

We'll repeat that: fuel correctly. Pigging out on junk will just be counterproductive, and can leave you feeling queasy. So get the good stuff—it'll maximize your energy, and your gains.

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Here are the best foods you can eat within an hour before your workout:

Bananas: “They’re nature’s PowerBar,” says Dr. Louise Burke, head of Sports Nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport and coauthor of The Complete Guide to Food for Sports Performance: Peak Nutrition for Your Sport. Bananas are loaded with digestible carbohydrates (read: fuel) and are packed with potassium, which aids in maintaining nerve and muscle function. The body doesn’t store potassium for very long, so a medium banana before a workout will help keep nutrient levels high. Villacorta especially recommends bananas for morning exercisers: “Get up and eat a medium banana with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt. Wait about 30 minutes and then hit the gym. Your body will need the carbohydrates and protein.” 

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