Want to get the most out of your workout? Then eat the right foods beforehand.
Although you may be tempted to skip the calories, the food you eat before you exercise will fuel your workout and maximize your efforts and results. “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 workout harder.” Eating before a workout also prevents low blood sugar, which leads to light-headedness and fatigue. That said, you don’t want to eat the wrong thing before you head out for a run.
Here are the best foods you can eat within an hour before your workout:
Bananas “They’re nature’s PowerBar,” boasts 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.”