Just like ithelps to have an exercise plan in mind before you hit the gym, being preparedwith the right pre-workout snack will keep you on track with your fitnessregimen. Not sure what to eat to fuel up? The rules of eating before exercisecan be confusing, so we asked nutrition pros for their go-to recommendations.From healthycarbs for an energy boost to protein for stayingpower, these expert-approved eats will help you maximize your workout.
2 / 7 Tea with milk
Bonnie Taub-Dix,RDN, CDN, and Everyday Health columnist, prefers to sip her pre-workoutsnack, opting for tea with milk before she exercises — and not just a typicalsplash you're used to adding. “I use about a cup of milk with my cup of joe,”she says. “The protein and carbs in the milk provide sustained energy,the teapolyphenols are super-powered antioxidants that boosts your immunity. Theycounteract inflammation and help fight bacteria and infections, and it's ahealthy, satisfying way to hydrate.”
"High-qualitycomplex carbohydrates are the best source of energy prior to a workout," saysPalinski-Wade, which is why she points to bananas as an excellent, grab-and-gooption. "Not only does a banana contain carbohydrates to fuel your workout, butit’s also rich in potassium which can help to prevent muscle cramps duringexercise,” she adds.
This is anall-star pick for gym-goers because it's easy, convenient, and suitable anytime. “For pre-workout snacks, my recommendations usually depend on what theworkout entails, because for some types of exercises, like yoga, you don't needto eat a lot beforehand,” says Jessica Levinson, RD. “For the most part, Irecommend a combo of protein and carbs, like apple slices dipped in peanutbutter.”
For apower-packed protein-and-carb combo, Levinson recommends a handful ofpistachios and blueberries. The blueberries are packed with anti-inflammatoryproperties, which may help recovery from exercise-induced muscle damageresulting in strength losses, according to a study published in the Journal of the InternationalSociety of Sports Nutrition.
Not just anyfruit smoothie will do, however. Stay away from sugary additives (like syrups)and be sure to include some protein. “Smoothies are a great way to not only boostyour carbohydrate intake, but to make sure you start off your workoutwell-hydrated,” says Palinski-Wade. “My favorite is this simple BerryPomegranate smoothie that is easy to make and includes a good source ofcarbohydrates from the fruit as well as lean protein from the cottage cheese.”
"If you workoutin the morning, this is a great pre-workout breakfast," says ErinPalinski-Wade, RD." The steel-cut oats are loaded with carbohydrates which areslowly digested to keep you full during your workout and the berries provideextra carbs as well as antioxidants to fight against workout-induced stressorson the body,” she says.