The Importance of Meal-Prepping Your Pre-Workout Snacks
Now that a new decade is fully upon us, you’re probably thinking about all the health resolutions you still want to accomplish. Exercising more is a New Year’s resolution for many with The Healthy listing getting into shape as the most common resolution people make every year. Although New Year's is fully done and dusted, the first quarter of the year is still a great time to get started with new habits.
What many people fail to realize is that your workout results can be intrinsically tied to your diet. From giving you the fuel you need to helping you retain your muscle mass, eating before a workout is crucial to creating a sustainable exercise routine.* At the end of the day, what good is working out if you end up sick in bed for days afterwards?
Why you need a pre-workout meal
A pre-workout meal can give you the needed energy to power through your workout.* If your body is running on empty, you might run the risk of overworking and injuring yourself. This second point is especially important, as overdoing it undoes all your hard work and can leave you feeling even worse off. Nutritionists at Parsley Health stress the importance of constant exercise as a way to help keep your body in great shape and help stave off the flu, especially with news of the coronavirus afflicting many people around the globe.* But while working out can be a great way to keep fit, it may become less beneficial when you're overworking your body to the point of exhaustion and it’s starting to take a negative toll.*
Pre-workout meals can help sustain your focus, thus giving you a great workout. Aside from helping you avoid illness in the long run, proper nutrition may give you the boost of energy you need to even finish your workout in the first place!* This is why you'll see a lot of gym buffs quickly munching on a banana or chugging down a shake before they start their routine.
Prepping the meal beforehand
While a pre-workout meal can be beneficial for your training, Healthline emphasizes that the timing of your meal also counts. As a general rule of thumb, you should be looking to eat a full meal (with carbs, protein, and fat all included) about two to three hours before you work out.* The closer you get to your gym time, the smaller your meal should be to avoid issues like indigestion.
This timing can be easily managed by meal prepping. If you like to get your workout in during the middle of the day, prepping may ensure you get the proper nutrition at the right time. Meal prepping can also help you retain muscle gains.* When you exercise with an empty stomach, your body may end up using your protein stores as a source of energy. Having some form of protein packed in your gym kit can help bypass this potential setback.*
Here's some good news for people who are struggling to get to the gym: your pre-workout meals can also be a good source of motivation.
Seeing all your prepped snacks or meals in the fridge gives you that daily reminder to get some exercise, and the act of preparing yummy snacks helps solidify the image in your mind of exercise as an enjoyable part of your day. The prep can be an event in itself, and you can use the tips in our 7 Habits to a Consistent Exercise Routine guide to also help you along the way. For example, why not try making a meal prep playlist to make the routine even more enjoyable?
Pre-workout meals might be a must for any exercise regimen. Taking the time to prepare your pre-workout meal beforehand allows you to incorporate exercise as part of your daily life; by learning about workout nutrition and finding the best pre-workout meals for you, the "chore" of working out actually becomes something you'll really look forward to!
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