The Secret to Ultimate Gains May Be the Right Pre-Workout Fuel

You already know that getting and staying in shape comes down to two main components: exercise and diet. And for the most part, as long as you’re staying on top of your workouts and making sure to fuel up adequately throughout the day, you’ll see progress as far as your health goes. But doing the big things right – specifically, hitting the gym a few days a week and sticking to a clean eating regimen – doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t room for improvement. Refusing to skip a workout  and committing to a healthy diet is all well and good when it comes to reaching your goals, but if you’re not eating the properly right before each sweat session, you might have some serious room for improvement. Here’s how to hack you’re pre-workout diet so that you can get into the habit of eating for ultimate gains.

run

Going for a run: Eat oatmeal. 

Since running generally calls for some pretty killer endurance, it’s a good idea to load up on fiber before lacing up your sneakers. The fiber will allow for a slow release of carbs into your bloodstream, which helps keep your energy up over an extended period of time. Plus, with an option like oatmeal, you get the added benefit of vitamin B, which further helps turn carbs into energy for your run.

yoga

Doing yoga: Eat a banana. 

Yoga isn’t as strenuous as cardio and other exercises, which means you don’t need quite as much food to power you through the workout. Instead of a bigger meal, just grab something light and simple like a banana, which is high in carbs (meaning it will rapidly convert into energy) and has a good amount of potassium to help out with proper muscle function.

strength

Strength training: Eat a plate of broccoli, sweet potatoes, or grilled chicken. 

You can lift weights all day (don’t, though), but if you’re not getting the right foods into your body, you’re not going to see much going on in the way of building muscle. To make sure that you’re maximizing gains when lifting, eat a mixture of veggies, low-glycemic carbs, and protein about two hours before you hit the weight room.

Hiit

Doing HIIT: Eat whole wheat toast with almond butter. 

Because of the high intensity of the workout – it’s in the name, guys – it’s important to fuel up before getting started with a mix of healthy carbohydrates and protein. You’ll want to plan ahead, though: the best time to work in your pre-HIIT meal is around three hours before your workout. Eating well in advance of the workout is especially important with fats like those found in almond butter.