Fueling Up Before a Workout

Food functions as the fuel to the body in any action it makes. This doubles when you exercise. Think of your body as a car. If it doesn’t have fuel, then it will not move. To start out, you’ll receive more energy just from eating before you work out. This is because the body uses glycogen and carbohydrates as the first source of fuel, meaning that they are turned into adenosine triphosphate, energy for the body. If you fill up the glycogen and carbohydrate stores before working out, you’ll end up with more energy for the workout. It also prevents muscle catabolism and promotes muscle anabolism. Since working out uses up the glycogen stores, the body looks to muscles for more energy, which can prevent muscle growth and recovery. Eating before working out will promote muscle-protein synthesis, thus creating an anabolic environment.

How to Pre-Eat

Remember the car analogy from before? Think of it again. Just like how every car needs a certain type of fuel, so does your body. Just like you shouldn’t put diesel in a tank that needs regular, you also shouldn’t give your body food that doesn’t do it any good before a workout.

Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are the essential parts of every pre-workout meal. Fats are high in energy but take a while to break down, so too much of them can cause you to feel sluggish. Proteins give the body the amino acids it needs, which aids in muscle recovery and growth and prevents muscle breakdowns. Carbohydrates make sure that your blood sugar levels don’t drop during a workout, and there are two types: low glycemic index and high glycemic index. The one you choose to eat depends on how long you plan to work out. LGIs are for small workouts, while HGIs are for longer workouts.

What to Pre-Eat

• Protein Shakes: These normally contains carbohydrates (LGI) and protein, but can also contain all the nutrients needed for a pre-workout meal. They can be consumed 30 minutes before working out.
• Homemade Protein Bars: These are easy to make and flexible in their contents. They can have either type of carbohydrates and contain a high level of protein. They can be consumed 30 minutes before a workout.
• Bananas: These contain carbohydrates (LGI), natural sugars, and potassium. They are a great way to increase your glycogen stores and blood sugar levels. They can be consumed 30 minutes before a workout.
• Porridge or Oatmeal: These are great sources of carbohydrates (HGI), fibers, and beta-glucan. They should always be consumed at least two hours before working out.
• Omelets: This is a great source of protein and amino acids and should be eaten two to three hours before working out.


Soft and Chewy Protein Granola Bars


2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
2 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup almond butter(or any nut butter)
1/4 cup honey (or brown rice syrup if vegan)
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (dairy-free if vegan)


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2) In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, protein powder, flax, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
3) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine almond butter, honey, almond milk, and vanilla. Mix until fully combined. Pour wet mix into dry mix and stir until fully incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.
4) Pour into prepared baking pan. Using a spatula or your hands, spread the mixture evenly in the pan, pressing down firmly.
5) Bake for 18-20 minutes, until edges begin to turn golden brown.
6) Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 20 minutes before cutting into bars.

Fresh banana shake

Banana Almond Cream Protein Shake

1 banana
1/2 cup milk
10 almonds
1 scoop protein powder
1 handful ice

Directions: Blend together and drink.

Plastic shaker with strawberry protein in gym

Strawberry Energy Shake

1 ½ cups water
10 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 scoop protein powder
Sweetener (optional)
1 handful ice (optional)

Directions: Blend together and drink.

Written by: Bryce Ethridge

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