To maximize your workout be sure not to exercise on an empty stomach. For a standard hour-long workout — lifting, running, cycling — you need to make sure you have a combination of carbs and protein to provide a stream of energy during strenuous exercise and nutrients to repair muscle afterward.
Bananas are very rich in fast-acting carbohydrates that will provide you with usable fuel for a workout, and the supply of potassium aids in maintaining muscle and nerve function.
Oats are packed with fiber, which facilitates a steady release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream, and therefore a steady energy supply throughout your workout. Caffeine has been shown to help regular drinkers enjoy a workout more by generating energy, as well as to slow fatigue and increase the rate of fat-burn.
Fruit smoothies combined with a favorite protein powder are an awesome pre-workout snack because they have high-quality protein, can be rapidly digested, and have the key combination of simple and complex carbohydrates. The simple carbohydrates should last for the first 15 to 20 minutes while the complex carbs will kick in for a more sustained energy. Together, these provide a steady stream of energy throughout a standard workout.
4. Chickpeas are an incredibly easy pre-workout snack that requires no cooking. Just eat 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of chickpeas, seasoned with some lemon juice for taste. A quarter cup alone will give you about 10 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs, and almost 9 grams of fiber.
If you are working out after lunch or dinner, you want to eat something that will sit well, provide you with a good deal of usable fuel, and have minimal fat.
5. Whole grains — like quinoa and brown rice — are packed with fiber, providing slow-release, sustained energy throughout the duration of a workout. The complex carbohydrates in brown rice help sustain energy production while chicken or tofu will provide protein for muscle repair after your workout. If you prefer, you can substitute brown rice with sweet potatoes, quinoa, or other whole grains/starchy vegetables.
6. Greek yogurt contains almost double the protein as normal yogurt but about half as much raw sugar as regular yogurt. Provided you aren’t lactose-intolerant, this should provide an energy boost that’s easy on the stomach.
Be sure to avoid rich foods that will take longer to digest and likely make you uncomfortable while exercising.