You’re a fit dude. You skip the bad stuff, always do #legsday, and hit the heavy bag hard. But if you want your body to continue performing like a Lamborghini, then you’ve gotta put in the high-octane fuel—that means eating the right foods before your workouts.
Think about it: A sports car still functions with regular old unleaded gas—but it won’t run as optimally or as long. Likewise, “would you expect to get to your destination if the tank was on empty?” says Jordan Mazur Opens a New Window. , R.D., coordinator of nutrition and team dietitian for the San Francisco 49ers.
And while fasted cardio has always been a diet trend Opens a New Window. among people hoping to lose weight, “going into your workout fueled and ready to go will maximize the work you do when you train,” Mazur explains.
For your pre-workout nutrition, you want to focus on foods that are high in carbs, moderate in protein, and low in fat and fiber. “Fat and fiber slow down digestion and can cause gastrointestinal upset during your workouts,” Mazur says. “Carbs are your main fuel source for activity and, just as important, it’s the primary fuel source for your brain. Additionally, the more substantial the meal is, the more time you want to allow for digestion, so it’s not sitting in your stomach.”
Here are 10 meals and snacks that’ll pave the way for gains, whether you train in the gym or on the road.
1. Plain Greek yogurt with berries and granola
“The berries and granola provide quick-digesting carbs to fuel your workout, and the Greek yogurt provides ample protein to prevent some of that muscle breakdown,” Mazur says. Look for a granola that contains nuts, seeds, and wholesome carbs (like oats, amaranth, quinoa, and/or millet). Try to find carb sources sweetened with coconut oil, dried figs, and/or vanilla; you want to keep sugar to a medium. Same goes for the yogurt: Stick to plain rather than fruit flavors.