Food is one of the most important components of building muscle and losing weight in a safe and healthy way. While fasted cardio is effective for many athletes and bodybuilders who are focused primarily on losing weight, you might find it more beneficial to eat something prior to your workout. Eating before your workout gives you the energy to perform at your best. Pre-workout meals also help to prevent the breakdown of muscles for fuel and actually promote muscle synthesis. Here are just some of the best pre-workout meals to incorporate into your macros for increasing muscle and losing weight.
Bananas are nature’s energy bars. They are packed with digestible carbohydrates and natural sugars, offering an easily accessible source of energy. Bananas are also known for being rich in potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that can help to maintain the function of your nerves and muscles. Potassium is not stored in your body for a long time, especially if you are sweating a lot, so eating a banana right before your workout can help to increase your glycogen stores and properly balance blood sugar levels.
For an even more thorough snack, slice a banana onto a slice of whole wheat toast with some peanut butter. The whole wheat toast offers more complex carbohydrates, which are designed to keep you energized for longer, while the peanut butter offers a good dose of protein.
While society’s relationship with eggs has constantly fluctuated, there’s no denying now that whole eggs have the highest bioavailable protein. An omelet offers a healthy helping of muscle-building protein and amino acids to help you build bulk during your workout. Combine two whole eggs and two egg whites with chopped onions, peppers, and mushrooms for an omelet packed with protein, vitamins, nutrients, and electrolytes.
Oats are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and soluble fiber. That means a clean, consistent flow of energy throughout your workout that will also keep hunger at bay. Oats are also high in B vitamins, which are known for helping to convert carbohydrates into energy. Top your oatmeal with your favorite fruits for added vitamins and carbohydrates, or stir in some protein powder to contribute to your muscle gains.
Greek Yogurt and Berries
Greek yogurt is essentially normal yogurt that has been strained to remove any excess whey. This results in a thicker, creamier texture and almost double the amount of protein. Greek yogurt also tends to have fewer carbohydrates and less sodium. That increased protein means more fuel for your muscles, while the low sodium ensures that you only get clean energy that won’t cause you to crash mid-workout.
Combine 1 cup of non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt with about a half cup of fresh blueberries (or other berries you love). Aside from adding extra flavor to your Greek yogurt, blueberries are high in antioxidants, which can potentially combat muscle fatigue. They are also packed with various vitamins and minerals while offering both soluble and insoluble fibers to support digestion and give you an extra boost in energy.
Turkey Leaf Wrap
Turkey is an excellent source for lean protein, doing away with much of the fat in beef, pork, and other red meats. That also means that turkey is much easier for you to digest and will not cause an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues while you exercise.
For tasty turkey leaf wraps, spread a large collard green leaf with deli mustard and top with 4 ounces of turkey chunks or slices along with chopped red pepper, purple onions, small tomatoes. Roll the leaf up and pin with a toothpick. Using a collard green leaf instead of a pita or tortilla reduces the carbohydrates and calories, making this perfect for those looking to shed some pounds while still building muscle.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Cottage cheese is made from the curds that come from pasteurized cow’s milk. More than anything, cottage cheese is known for packing a huge amount of protein with very few calories and carbohydrates. It comes in several various levels of milk fat. It even comes in lactose-free variations. Cottage cheese also offers good amounts of B vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and potassium.
Thanks to its mild flavor, cottage cheese is easy to pair with just about anything. A half cup of fresh berries or melon slices can provide you with extra nutrients and antioxidants along with the cheese’s existing protein for the perfect pre-workout fuel that is easy to digest. If you need endurance for your workout, add in some banana slices for the extra carbs and potassium.
Foods to Avoid
The main thing to avoid with your pre-workout meal is fatty foods, which take a long time to leave your stomach and can leave you feeling full and sluggish and potentially lead to cramping. Furthermore, while you do need some carbohydrates for energy, make sure you get them from healthy sources. Raw sugar and candy will only cause a sugar rush and an eventual crash while you’re working out.
In general, your pre-workout meal should be fairly light. Most of the above foods are technically snacks. Overeating or otherwise packing in too much will only make you sluggish and potentially lead to indigestion, nausea, cramps and vomiting. If you do want to eat before your workout, most experts recommend eating light snacks 30 minutes to 1 hour before your workout to give your body time to digest the food. Larger meals should be consumed 2 to 3 hours prior to your workout.
Along with a pre-workout meal, you might consider taking a supplement to contribute to your personal fitness goals. No matter what your goal is, recovery is important to avoid overtraining and injuries. Consider taking mTOR PRO™ from MYOKEM™. mTOR PRO™ offers a unique formula to assist in increased muscle growth, a boost in energy, improved recovery and enhanced performance and hydration. Each serving of mTOR PRO™ also offers 10.5 grams of essential amino acids. Combine it with a healthy pre-workout meal to fuel muscle and weight loss.