Are you one of those people who think that working out on an empty stomach will help you burn fat? Think again! A pre-workout snack is as important as working out itself! Think about it: that one hour you spend sweating out at the gym, feeling the burn and pumping up the heart rate, all to tone up your muscles. But if you do not care enough about fueling those muscles, do you really think you are going to see any of the expected results? It's like trying to run a car without sufficient fuel-- it just does not work.
Muscles are the source of power that dictates our metabolism. The more muscles you have, the more fat calories you burn making your body lean and toned. As we all know proteins are the building blocks for our lean muscle mass. And a constant supply of good quality protein over time helps build new muscles. But when it comes to working out, we need some instant source of energy that will help us push till the last rep with high intensity and help us preserve and replenish the existing muscle mass. This is when complex carbs come in to the picture, a preferred source of energy for strength training routines.
Here are some good examples:
A piece of fruit - best snack for a morning workout session.
1 apple, 1 small banana, 1/2 c of berries, etc 15-30 min before workout.
They not only provide a sufficient source of instant energy but also are rich sources of vitamins and minerals (vitamin-c, carotene, potassium,etc) that replenish the muscles and spike up the metabolism.
Whole grain foods 1-11/2 hour before workout
Oat meal, or a good quality cold cereal with at least 3g of fiber (eg: Kashi Golean, Post shredded wheat, Kashi heart-to-heart) with skim milk, or a high fiber bread like Ezekiel with a tsp of lite butter or all natural peanut butter, a good combination of plant based amino acids and fiber to feel the zest till that last rep.
1/2 c of low fat plain yogurt with a tsp of honey 1/2-1 hour before workout.
Honey maintains the rush of glucose for the energy spikes and is also a good source of antioxidant micro-mineral (chromium). While the yogurt sugar lactose keeps you full enough to survive the workout.
1/2 cup of carrots, celery sticks or broccoli, with a tbs of hummus, or a yogurt dip like tzasiki. These light carbs are a good combination of moderate amount of fiber (2-3grams) and antioxidants.
100-150 calorie nuts or granola bar with moderate amount of fiber (2-3 grams) like Kashi, Luna, Pria bar, etc 1/2-1 hour before workout.
Remember, you fuel your muscles and the muscles will burn out the fat, you starve your muscles and all you lose is your body tone, not the fat!
Prachi Baxi has a double masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition, she is a Nutrition Specialist certified by the American College of Nutrition and a Certified Yoga Instructor. Her immense experience in the field of Ashtanga Yoga coupled with her Nutrition knowledge she helps people who need to and want to change their way of life, become fit and discover their newer selves. She is a Fitness Counselor who has a passion for life and teaches yoga with intent and compassion. Prachi can be reached via email at email@example.com.