There always seems to be mass confusion when people decide what to fuel up on before a workout. Should I make a protein shake? Have a piece of fruit? Do I even need anything at all? Ultimately, everyone’s different, and we all have different nutritional needs—so give a few of these “accidentally vegan” workout foods a shot and find your perfect combination!
For your pre-workout snack or meal, make sure that you’re grabbing something with complex carbohydrates to give you the energy for that extra set—but keep it light so that stomach cramps don’t interrupt your workout!
Fruit and Nut Butter
An apple or a banana will provide you with a good spurt of energy before your workout. Bananas are loaded with potassium, which will help prevent muscle cramps and replenish the potassium that you lose when you sweat. Throw in some nut butter for a burst of protein and lasting energy for long or intense workouts.
Oats With Fruit, Nuts, or Chia Seeds
Oats are great because they’re complex carbohydrates that provide a long-lasting source of energy. Feel free to add in some fruit for a quick burst of energy, a handful of nuts for added protein, or some chia seeds for a ton of extra health benefits.
Dried Fruit With a Handful of Almonds or Walnuts
Unsweetened dried fruit can be an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates, and when paired with a handful of nuts, they can be a perfect pre-workout snack for anyone who’s on the go or has limited time.
Whole Grain Toast
Whole grain bread will give you the energy that you need to push through your workout. If you have an hour or two before your workout, add some almond butter or avocado to your toast for additional nutrients and sustained energy. Just remember that these additions will take longer to digest.
Baked Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes have long since been considered a superfood for runners, and it may be time for other athletes to incorporate them into their meals before working out. They’re an excellent complex carbohydrate that’s loaded with vitamins and minerals—which will help you achieve your goals at the gym.
This one’s kind of an oddball, but coffee has been linked to increased performance at the gym. Additionally, its diuretic effect is minimal and is counteracted by the liquid found in the coffee itself. If you’re reaching for a drink 30 minutes to an hour before your workout, consider making it a cup of black coffee—you can also add a light amount of soy or almond milk to it.
Pretzels can be a quick and convenient way to fuel up on carbs before hitting the gym. Dip the pretzels in almond butter for some additional protein and sustained energy throughout your workout.