Most of us are squeezing in a gym session or workout class first thing in the morning before work. While you may not always feel like eating that early or when you’re in a hurry, fueling your body before a workout helps you get the results you’re looking for. I can feel a difference in my strength and endurance when I’ve had the proper nutrition before a workout. You want to give your body energy with easily digestible carbs. Without sustained energy and the right food before a workout, you risk injuring yourself, burning muscle tissue that you’re trying to build, and preventing your body from burning calories as it holds on to whatever you consume to continue functioning. We don’t always have time to plan a proper meal before getting our workout in, so I’m sharing five of my favorite, easy to make pre-workout breakfasts.
For the times when you have an hour or more before your workout, go for healthy carbs that will provide lasting energy. Carbohydrates from natural foods turn into glucose in the body, which gives your muscles fast burning energy. Having some fat and protein along with your meal can also help you sustain your energy for longer if you have more time or a longer workout planned.
1. Green Smoothie: Smoothies are a great way to pack in a lot of nutrition. The food is already broken down for easy digestion and quick absorption. Smoothies are also fast and easy to make, especially if you throw the ingredients into the blender and store in the fridge the night before. Wake up, blend, and you have your pre-workout meal ready to take on the go if you’re in a hurry. I always use a base of almond milk, spinach, kale, and either a banana or half an avocado for thickness. Add in chia seeds, berries, dates, or walnuts.
2. Tropical Kiwi Oatmeal: Get your fiber and your energy with oatmeal first thing in the morning. There are so many variations of preparing oatmeal that make it anything but boring. This is one of my favorite recipes from Chloe’s Clean Cuisine. Grate ginger into the oats while they’re cooking for added spice and health benefits. To sweeten, she recommends a mashed banana or sweet potato. Top with pecans, berries, kiwi, and cinnamon.
3. Avocado Toast: Who doesn’t love avocado toast? An easy and delicious meal when you want something savory. Avocado fat is super healthy and allows you to feel fuller longer. Toast bread of your choosing and spread a ripe avocado over the top. Lightly sprinkle extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Top with greens to make it extra nutritious.
4. Baked Sweet Potato with Cinnamon: This one tastes like dessert but without the guilt! Baking the potato takes a while, so I like to pop one in the oven first thing when I wake up and get ready for my day while it’s cooking. Once it’s done, I add vegan butter and loads of cinnamon, known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Cashew Yogurt Parfait: This is also another meal I can prep the night before if I know I’ll be in a hurry the next morning or need to eat my breakfast on the go. Layer your favorite non-dairy yogurt with sliced berries and granola. My local farmer’s market sells fresh cashew yogurt that pairs well with just about anything and is filled with good-for-the-gut live cultures.
For the times when you’re literally running out the door, grab a banana or a handful of dates for a quick energy burst.
What’s your favorite pre-workout breakfast?
Also by Crystal: 4 Things You Must Do Besides Working Out to Achieve Your Dream Body
Get more like this—Subscribe to our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photo: Crystal Chin