For everybody who hits the gym, you probably know what pre workout food is. But if you are someone who works out at home by simple cardio and some equipment at home, you might not be familiar with the term. As the name suggests, it’s a food item you eat before a workout, usually half to one hour before the workout.
Why have pre workout food?
Before learning what are the best pre workout foods, let’s first look at why they are necessary. There are two parts to this.
Firstly, your body needs energy. Gym trainers and people who workout will always advise you to eat something around an hour before you start working out. This is to increase the sugar levels in your body so that you do not get tired while working out. Exercising on an empty stomach will only leave you too drained too soon. But this does not mean that you stock up. It is advised to eat something light and carbohydrate-rich, so there is ample fuel available in your body.
And secondly, consuming proteins in your pre workout food is also advised as they are necessary for your body to rebuild the muscles you are going to use while working out, especially when you are weight training.
You want your pre workout food to be light but high in carbohydrates and proteins. There are a lot of articles on the internet which gives us some good examples, but a lot of them are either not part of the natural Indian diet or are less likely to be available everywhere in the country. We have come up with a list which qualifies as quite a good pre workout diet in India.
Being the second most important fruit crop in India, after the mango, the banana is easily available everywhere in India. It’s affordability, all year round availability and not to forget, it’s nutrition – all have made it a popular fruit in the subcontinent.
As for it being classified as an essential pre workout diet in India, the fruit contains a good amount of sugar and starch which will allow you to fuel your exercises.
Also known as curd or dahi in northern India, the yoghurt is high in calcium and proteins, one of the other essential nutrients that must be present in a pre workout food item.
It also contains a certain amount of natural sugars which work as fuel for the body during the workout. However, you can add a bit more energy to this item by adding some cornflakes or oats.
You can prepare oatmeal for fuelling yourself up before you go to workout. Though a great item to have as a pre workout food, it requires a little more effort to make, compared to the other two options stated above.
Regardless, if you are not lazy and open to cooking, oatmeal is one of the best workout food in India. This is because it contains the carbs in the oats, proteins in the milk, and you can even add more nutrients by chopping some fruits to add to your oatmeal.
4. Peanut butter on bread
A much easier option than the one mentioned above, here you just need to put a little peanut butter between two slices of bread. It’s better if you choose brown or whole wheat bread.
If you cannot find peanut butter around you, just buy peanuts, roast them and toss them into the mixer-grinder, and your peanut butter is ready.
This pre workout diet is light but provides your body with enough carbohydrates and proteins to sustain your energy levels during your workout routine.
5. Rice with chicken or eggs
Whatever is easier for you to buy and make, choose that. In this pre workout diet, it’s better to have brown rice because of higher nutrition levels of minerals, but if you don’t have them, white rice works fine. This works at the source of your carbs.
As for opting between chicken and eggs, you can choose either; just make sure that when you are having eggs, leave out the yolk if you are trying to lose weight because of the yolk’s higher fat content. This will be your protein component.
Just make sure that you portion control and don’t eat an amount that will make it difficult for you to workout with a heavy stomach.
6. Rice with pulses
A vegetarian and more ‘desi’ version will be to opt for daal instead of chicken or eggs. You probably have some leftovers from last night, have that. The food doesn’t have to be fancy to be a pre workout food.
7. Dried fruits
Easy to eat and handy to carry out, dried fruits can be excellent pre workout foods. These contain good amounts of carbohydrates and plenty of vitamins and minerals which help your body stay fitter. There are some people who have milk with them. If you want, you too can add that but make sure that it is at least one and a half or two hours before your workout as milk being heavy to digest can hamper with your workout session. Other than that, dried fruits alone are one of the best workout foods in India. This is somewhat a replacement to the granola bar.
There are plenty of more pre workout foods that you can find on the Internet. And the one thing they all do is balance out the right amount of carbs and proteins in your small intake just an hour before your workout. You can probably come up with some of your own combinations. Just make sure that the amount of intake is not too small to not give you enough energy, but also not so much that you feel too full and are unable to exercise.
These were some of our suggestions based on their availability and affordability, making these listed meals as the best workout food in India, and something that you can easily accommodate in a workout diet in India without going out of your way of getting protein shakes or multivitamins and energy tablets.