DON’T 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, according to Manuel Villacorta, registered dietician and author of Peruvian Power Foods.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1. Bananas

banana

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.

To people who like to work out first thing in the morning and typically skip eating before, Villacorta said, “Please have a banana” before, and then eat breakfast “within a half hour at the least” afterward to provide essential protein for muscle building and repair.

2. Oats

oats-14

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Oats are packed with fiber, which facilitates a steady release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream, and therefore a steady energy supply throughout your workout, according to Villacorta.

3. Caffeine

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Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 60882028@N08

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.

Villacorta says he adds a couple shots of espresso to his pre-workout shake in the morning to pump him up.

4. Fruit Smoothies

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Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 71430589@N02

Fruit smoothies 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 will hit for the first 15 to 20 minutes,” says Villacorta, while “the complex finally kick in around the half-hour mark.” Together, these provide a steady stream of energy throughout a standard workout.

5. Chickpeas

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Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: doyland

This is an incredibly easy pre-workout snack with no cooking involved whatsoever. 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.