There's nothing worse than making the effort to go to the gym, put your kit on and get sweaty, only to not get the most out of your workout. Which is why Azmina Govindji, consultant nutritionist to KIND snacks, has outlined 8 pre-workout foods to help you train better.
1. Plan ahead with proper snack bars
"Filling up on nutritious snacks that are high in protein and fibre can help you feel fuller for longer in-between meals and control hunger pre-workout", nutritionist Azmina Govindij explains. "Having one or two granola or nut bars such as KIND can help you stop over-indulging on something too carb-heavy or sugary that will leave you lagging later."
2. Choose nutrients over calories
"Nutrient-dense snacks are foods that give you more nutrients per calorie compared to others. A bowl of whole grain cereal, for example, gives you about 250 calories and it brings along fibre, vitamins and minerals, as well as calcium and protein from the milk. An average chocolate bar has the equivalent of 250 calories but doesn't carry nutritional goodness. Choose snacks that offer you healthier ingredients such as fresh or dried fruit, nuts or yogurt."
3. Choose protein over carbs
"Research suggests high protein foods fill you up more than carbs or fatty foods, but you probably already knew that. When you're fuelling your body pre-workout, a protein heavy snack such as nuts and nut bars, edamame beans, hummus, Greek yogurt or popcorn a few hours before you hit the gym will help you get the most out of your
4. That said, healthy fats are good too
"You shouldn't be steering away from carbs and fats all together though, because any foods bring you healthy fats. Snacks such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and fish are high in the good kind of fats, which mean a small amount pre-workout is great to keep you full and keep your muscles working."
5. For a last minute boost, try simple carboyhydrates
Unlike complex carbs, simple carbohydrates digest quickly and will give you a last minute boost is you feel yourself flagging en route to the gym. Try things like rice cakes, crackers, oatmeal or equivalent - but try to avoid the sugary versions and the energy spike they provide.
6. Get your timing right
When it comes to eating pre and post-workout, timing is key. Try to have a 150-calorie snack - whether it's high in simple carbs, protein, healthy fats or other - 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. A proper balanced meal 3-4 hours before will help you be at your most effective, too.
7. Find out what works for you
A snack that will tick all the boxes ideally needs to be portable and convenient, a source of protein and fibre and low in sugar and calories, but obviously this isn't always easy to come by. Because of this, it's worth trying out different options - healthy fats, high protein, high fibre etc etc - and seeing what works for you and your workout best.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.