Pre-workout supplements have been trending for a while now.
While more and more people are interested in its benefits, many have also been discovering the possible side effects of using pre-workout supplements.
We understand your concern, and that's why we're giving you a list of natural food alternatives to pre-workout supplements.
Before learning what kinds of foods and what recipes to make with them, we must first understand what our body needs for an effective workout.
Macronutrients are the three main components of nutrition: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These nutrients provide fuel for your body.
A balanced meal or diet includes all three types of nutrients to ensure your body gets the proper amount of calories and essential vitamins and minerals.
The right carbohydrates are essential for working out.
When we work out, we need carbs because our body uses them to produce energy.
Our bodies break down carbohydrates to use them as energy.
Basically, carbohydrates are sugars and starches. They are broken down into glucose, another type of sugar. Finally, our muscles use that glucose as fuel for working out.
We know that carbohydrates come from many different foods, including bread, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, and some types of dairy, which are not the healthiest unless consumed in regulation.
However, they're not the only source.
Fruits and vegetables are also great sources of carbohydrates! Plus, you can get lots of vitamins and minerals from them, too.
Eat enough to fuel your workout or training session, but don't overdo the carbs. Avoid eating large meals before working out. Instead, eat small snacks throughout the day.
The human body needs protein to function properly.
Proteins are essential building blocks of muscles, bones, skin, hair, nails, and blood cells. They're also needed for energy production and immune system function.
More than any of the many benefits of protein in our body, protein is essential in exercise because it's needed to repair muscle damage, especially the fibres that we tear and break when exercising.
Taking in protein before and after workouts increases the impact of your session.
Protein comes from food and supplements. Food sources include meat, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, soybeans, and grains. Supplements include whey protein powder, casein protein powder, and amino acids.
Glycogen, how the body processes and stores glucose from carbs, is for short- and high-intensity use.
Meanwhile, fat is our body's source of energy for longer and less intense workouts.
There are healthy fats that are beneficial for weight loss and overall health. These include monounsaturated fats (from olive oil), polyunsaturated fats (from seeds and nuts), and omega-3 fatty acids (from fish).
Like pre-workout supplements, you can take these foods 30 minutes or more before your workout to fuel your body.
Let's start with the most common one.
Bananas are rich in natural sugars, simple carbs, and potassium, making them great before workouts. Plus, they're easy to bring, eat, and are tasty.
They're an excellent source of carbohydrates and fibres but are not that filling. They're sweet but won't spike your blood sugar levels. In fact, they can help keep blood sugar and energy levels stable, so you feel great while working out.
Nuts are an excellent source of protein and fat, but they also contain lots of carbs.
However, they should not be eaten when you are trying to lose weight because of their high fat, protein, and calorie content.
If you're looking for a quick, easy, healthy pre-workout snack, try eating dried fruit like raisins, apricots, or figs.
These foods contain simple sugars that your body will quickly break down and absorb into your bloodstream.
You'll get a boost of energy before hitting the gym, and you won't feel full or bloated after working out.
Peanut butter and apples are a tasty pairing.
This is a delicious and satisfying snack that will help fuel your workouts.
This pair is a great source of protein and fibre, which, as mentioned above, are essential for workouts.
Sweet potatoes are great sources of potassium, vitamin A and carbs.
They make an excellent source of fuel pre-or post-workout.
An easy way to cook them is by steaming them. You can eat them with kimchi and/or chicken for added protein and if you want it to be savoury, or with sour cream and cheese for more creamy goodness.
They're filling, so eating them 1 to 2 hours before your session is ideal.
Oats are an excellent source of dietary fibre.
Aside from helping move waste through the digestive system, fibre also slows digestion. That means that the carbohydrates in oats are slowly released.
That keeps the blood sugar and energy levels steady during workouts so you can train for longer.
Omelettes are an easy and delicious breakfast option - or any meal, really.
Eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein and all of the essential amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.
You can add more nutrients by adding your favourite greens or customize it any way you want.
You should eat omelettes 2 to 3 hours before a workout to prevent muscle catabolism or the breakdown of muscle tissue, aka loss of muscle mass.
Aside from nutrients and minerals, hydration is also one of the essentials in working out.
Instead of drinking commercially available energy or sports drinks that may have side effects, you can make your own healthy energy drink.
Just blend some water, lemon or other fresh citrus juice, sea salt, and honey. Adjust to your preference.
This recipe offers carbohydrates and electrolytes, minus the other additives present in commercially available energy drinks.
Beetroots contain nitrate, which our bodies convert to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps increase blood flow and muscle contraction.
To make your own Beetroot juice, simply blend one beetroot and add some lime juice and a pinch of salt after.
Our nature is amazing; there's always something natural for you to try - even pre-workout supplement alternatives.
If you're concerned about the potential side effects of pre-workout supplements or trying to recover from them, the list above will surely help.
See you in another article!