Fueling before a tough workout will improve your performance, time to fatigue, and overall recovery. Whether it is a strength workout, a skills session, or endurance training, fueling your brain and muscles for the challenge ahead is essential. While many people may find that their stomachs cannot tolerate food, properly timing and picking easily digestible foods can help.
Fruit is an excellent pre-workout food. Consuming ~ 1 cup of fruit about 30 minutes before exercise can give you the energy your need to push and make progress. Of all fruits, bananas are one of the best pre-workout foods to fuel your next session. Here are a few reasons why:
- The perfect blend of carbs: A ripe banana contains the carbohydrates sucrose, fructose and glucose. Why is this important? Your body has different enzymes and transporters that breakdown and absorb these different types of carbohydrates. This is advantageous to improving absorption and usage of carbohydrates during training. One medium banana contains ~28 g carbs, perfect right before training.
- They contain essential vitamins and minerals: Especially potassium, one of the important electrolytes our body needs. It also contains B6 which is necessary for carbohydrate metabolism. They also contain antioxidants, which can help combat free radicals produced during exercise (this is a normal occurrence and is part of adaptation).
- Easy to grab and go: It legit has its own, biodegradable wrapper. You can eat one quick, in just a few bites while you walk, drive, run or cycle. What more can you ask for?
- Easily digestible: Especially when ripe, bananas are more easily digestible. This is due to the breakdown in pectin, a water soluble fiber, that softens the bananas.
While most fruit will work pre-workout (i.e. melon, grapes, pineapple, etc), bananas win for its nutritive qualities and portability. Regardless of what you chose pre-workout, it’s important that it is high in carbs, easily digestible, and consumed ~15-30 minutes prior to training. A small amount of protein can also be added if needed for your specific training (think small protein shake or BCAAs). Training under-fueled tends to have more risk than reward and is generally not advised. Why put in all the effort to train hard and not optimize your time and performance?
NOTE: Needs are different from athlete to athlete, so please use this as a general guide. If you are interested in understanding and learning your specific needs, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.