Energized Eating | 7 Recipes to Fuel Your Workout

Think about your daily routine. As you maneuver through your to-dos, being in the right state of body and mind is crucial to successfully accomplish and enjoy each activity. Whatever your schedule, you have most likely developed unique techniques to get into the best state of mind to tackle tasks smoothly.

Similarly, all it takes is a little preparation to enjoy a more successful workout. Here are some tried-and-true pre-workout nutrition tips, recipes, and quick and healthy foods to give you the fuel and energy you need to power through any exercise routine. For a complete micronutrient break down, visit Ask The Scientists for their deeper dive on the best pre-workout foods.

Consult with your physician before making any major lifestyle changes. That said, adding a small nutritional snack to your day is a simple, adoptable lifestyle change. And you may surprise yourself with the get-up-and-go gusto!

Food for Thought

Not All Calories Are Created Equal 

It’s easy to think a calorie is a calorie, or all carbs are equal, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, some types of carbohydrates—purified sugars especially—provide short-term spikes in blood sugar, while other carbs, like soluble fiber, can actually lower glucose levels and blood cholesterol. Ask The Scientists has an in-depth breakdown of this flexible macronutrient.

The food and nutrients you take in fuel your body, everything from brain function to muscle output and recovery. The types of nutrients you consume impact your energy levels, reaction speed, alertness, even mood. Most fruit, candy, bread, and other simple carbs produce instant energy ideal for short-term use. Nuts, Greek yogurt, chicken breast, and other protein-heavy or fatty foods provide slower, sustainable, long-term energy. Both types of food can be ideal for exercise energy if consumed in the correct timeframe. Knowing what to eat—and when—is priceless to achieve the best energy levels during and after a workout.

Eat with Purpose

Fuel Your Moving Machine 

With the holiday season behind us and New Year’s goals ahead, you may be tempted to restrict your nutrition. Regardless of your health goals, the last thing you want to do is work out on an empty stomach. Your body uses glycogen, a stored carbohydrate, as energy during exercise. When glycogen stores run dry, your body might turn to consuming its own muscle mass for energy in extreme circumstances—something we definitely do not want. Plus, you’ll likely feel lightheaded, shaky, and overall awful, making it difficult to maintain any kind of exercise routine.

It might seem counterintuitive to up your food intake, especially if you’re trying to lose weight, but eating smarter can lead to speedier results in the long-run. Proper nutrition promotes muscle growth, a healthy heart, and stable energy. With the right nutrition, at the right time, eating before a workout can actually shorten the time it will take to reach your goals—if you have the energy to work out longer and harder, your muscles will develop faster, and more fat will be burned with each successful workout.

An apple a day may or may not keep the doctor away, but simple, unprocessed carbs can certainly fuel your way through a successful workout.

7 Snacks for Energy

The snacks below are designed to give you the nutrition your body needs to stay up and running—and jumping, pushing, pulling, pivoting, etc.

Banana Chia Spinach Smoothie

This naturally sweet smoothie sneaks in spinach, the leafy-green superfood chock-full of antioxidants and other nutrients. Consume as early as 30 minutes before clutching a cowbell.

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 heaping handful of fresh spinach
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • cubed ice

Instructions

Blend all ingredients, adding ice to preferred consistency.

Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats

In a quick five minutes, you’ll have a powerhouse protein and carb-packed oatmeal blend, perfect for a morning glycogen-charged meal or pre-workout snack. Since there’s yogurt and a bit of almond butter, this is a perfect snack to fit in an hour before working out.

  • ½ cup steel-cut oats
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp all-natural almond butter
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • dash of cinnamon
  • sugar-free sweetener to taste

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or mason jar. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours.

No-Bake Chocolate PB Energy Bites

This recipe includes refined sugars, but don’t sweat a few simple carbs about a half hour before a 60 to 90–minute workout. Going for distance? Keep a few of these bites handy for a mid-run recharge.

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup ground flax seed
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Form into balls by rolling between the palm of your hands, and arrange bites on a baking sheet. Freeze until set, about one hour.

Banana Oatmeal Shake

This peanut-buttery shake has a little more protein and fat, making it an ideal snack several hours before gym time for steadier energy, or as a post-workout protein boost.

  • 1 Tbsp oats
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseeds
  • 1 scoop of Vanilla Nutrimeal
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana, diced
  • 2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter

Instructions

Grind oats and flaxseeds in a spice or coffee grinder. Use a blender to blend all ingredients to preferred consistency.

Perfect Pre-Workout Trail Mix

Cinnamon and sea salt in a trail mix is a tasty treat that must be tried to be believed. This is another snack with simple sugars, but again, it’s an energetic indulgence a half hour to 45 minutes before hitting the treadmill.

  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, dried cherries
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • cinnamon
  • sea salt

Instructions

Combine nuts, dried berries, and chocolate chips together in bowl or bag. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and dashes of cinnamon to taste.

Hummus Toast

Enjoy heart-healthy hummus with this savory twist on pre-workout nutrition. Add your own flair with different savory toppings or a lemon citrus splash. With less fat and protein, you can enjoy one of these toasted bagels a half hour before working out.

  • 1 seeded or plain whole wheat bagel
  • ½ cup hummus
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • pea shoots for garnish
  • flaky sea salt, to taste

Instructions

Spread hummus on toasted bagel. Garnish with tomatoes and pea shoots. Lightly sprinkle with flaky sea salt to taste.

 

PB Banana and Honey Sandwich

A simple, sweet sandwich to give you a quick hit of carbs and potassium. Recommended to eat 45 minutes to one hour before exercise, or post-workout to keep muscle cramps away.

  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • honey

Instructions

Spread peanut butter on both pieces of bread. Top one with banana slices and a light drizzle of honey. Top with the other slice of bread.

Bonus Recipe: Quick Recovery Nutrimeal™ Java Shake

Put a little pep back in your step after a workout with a deliciously satisfying coffee twist on the classic Nutrimeal protein shake.  You’ll feel fueled up and satisfied for longer with 15 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and a low-glycemic index.*

  • 8 oz milk
  • 1 scoop of Vanilla Nutrimeal
  • 4–6 coffee ice cubes, adjusted to taste
  • Regular ice cubes, more or less to adjust thickness of shake

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Continue to conquer your day while sipping.

A Solid Backup Plan

Your Go-To Grocery List

Handy Healthy Snacks

The only thing that’s a sure bet in life is nothing’s a sure bet. One thing you can sure up is successful snacking, with this list of no-prep eats fit for the gym or any time a snack craving hits. Healthy eating habits are all about accessibility!

Energizing Eats Grocery List

Snacks for Success

Fuel Your Long-Term Success

Alternative Energy Sources

A Lifetime of Exercise Success

Each body is unique and metabolizes foods differently. Experiment and see what kinds of nutrition work best for you. Consider supplementation to take your energy stores to the next level. Both CoQuinone® 30 and MagneCal D™ provide bioavailable nutrients to help support your active lifestyle.*

For workout inspiration during colder months, check out this blog on functional training, an exercise style suitable for anyone.

Thank you for reading! Tell us your favorite go-to energizing snacks in a comment below.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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