Think twice before heading to the gym on an empty stomach. “Exercising on an empty stomach can lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue,” Cynthia Sass told Life by DailyBurn. Not only can this impact your muscles and weight-loss efforts, but it can also hurt your metabolism and may even lead to injury.
In order to ensure you’re getting the most of your workouts and pre-workout snacks, Life by DailyBurn suggests keeping a few things in mind: The closer you get to your workout, the simpler your snack should be, and the more intense your workout’s going to be, the more you should eat. On the other hand, if your workout is going to consist of a 30-minute walk, you aren’t going to need nearly as much to eat as someone who is going for a seven-mile jog.
Sipping a nutritious pre-workout drink is a great way to fuel up before you hit the gym. Pre-workout drinks are portable, easy to prepare, and deliver the perfect dose of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Keep reading — we’ve compiled six drinks perfect for your pre-workout snack.
1. Peach Cobbler Pre-Workout Drink
Muscle & Fitness delivers a drink that’s so delicious, you’ll never skip your pre-workout snack again. Peaches add sweet flavors to your smoothie, while oatmeal ensures it’s nice and filling. You’ll need vanilla whey protein for this recipe, along with sliced peaches in juice and a packet of maple and brown sugar-flavored instant oatmeal. This nutritious beverage contains 305 calories, 24 grams of protein, 49 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fiber.
- 1 cup water
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
- ½ can sliced peaches in juice, drained
- 1 packet reduced-sugar maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal
Directions: Combine all ingredients and blend.
2. The Cocolina
It doesn’t get any simpler than One Green Planet’s recipe. The cocolina consists of just a couple ingredients: coconut water and spirulina powder. Coconut water is packed with potassium, which ensures you don’t start cramping mid-workout, and spirulina is a good source of protein, amino acids, potassium, B vitamins, and magnesium. This pre-workout drink is quite light, making it a perfect go-to for days when you need a very last-minute snack.
- Coconut water
- ½ teaspoon spirulina powder
Directions: Pour coconut water into a sports bottle and mix in the spirulina powder. Tightly secure bottle cap and shake well.
3. Beet, Carrot, Apple, and Ginger Juice
The Iron You notes that beetroot juice is a great source of nitrate, which widens blood vessels, thus lowering your blood pressure and allowing for more blood flow. In addition, it reduces the amount of oxygen your muscles need during activity, meaning beetroot juice is a great ingredient to work into your pre-workout drink.
In addition to containing beets, The Iron You’s recipe has several other healthy ingredients, including carrots, apples, ginger, and lemon.
- 3 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 large carrots, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and quartered
- 1 Gala apple, cored and quartered
- 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions: Pass beets, carrots, apple, and ginger through a juicer and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Add lemon juice and mix.
4. Banana-Walnut Bliss Smoothie
Boost your energy before hitting the gym with Best Health’s banana-walnut bliss smoothie. Men’s Fitness explains that bananas are packed with potassium, a mineral that aids in maintaining nerve and muscle function, and carbs, which give you the energy needed to complete your sweat session. The recipe yields 2 servings, with each containing 227 calories, 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 37 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber.
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1 large banana
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Handful walnut pieces (or 7 halves)
Directions: Blend together all ingredients. Enjoy!
5. Chocolate Shake
Tofu and chocolate may seem like a strange combination, but the two pair perfectly in Slender Kitchen’s recipe. Don’t worry — this shake doesn’t come close to tasting like tofu. The tofu does play a key role in this drink, though, providing it with protein and a rich, pudding-like texture. One serving contains 240.8 calories, 6.1 grams of fat, 45 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber, and 13.4 grams of protein.
- ⅓ (10-ounce) block firm tofu
- 1 small banana, sliced
- 1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup skim milk (almond, soy, or coconut milk)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ cup ice
Directions: Add everything to a blender, and blend until smooth.
6. Soy Protein Shake
Peanut butter fans will love Food.com’s soy protein shake, which also contains soy milk, bananas, and soy protein concentrate. BodyBuilding.com commends peanut butter for its many healthy benefits, noting that it will fill you up, reduce your risk of heart disease, and provide you with vitamins and minerals. In addition, it’s a good source of protein and can help build and repair muscles.
- 1 scoop powdered soy protein concentrate (Spiru-Tein unsweetened powder works well)
- ½ banana
- 1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter
- 8 ounces soy milk
- 3 ice cubes
Directions: Mix all ingredients in a blender.