Most people take pre-workout supplements or drinks to level up their energy levels and get the much-needed strength to go hard in the gym. There are mainly two types of supplements or drinks you’ll see people taking to boost their performance in the gym.
The first is pre-workouts, which give the head start for intense training sessions and the second is post-workouts, taken to help repair muscles and replenish the glycogen stores in the body.
However, most pre-workouts are made artificially and include a lot of chemicals. Although they are popular amongst gym-goers and athletes, a lot of people are trying to transition to more natural alternatives.
A lot of people who consume pre-workouts experience minimum side effects, but only if they are in good health already. However, some people may have some side effects that could put them off pre-workout supplements completely.
A study conducted in 2019 on the use of pre-workouts concluded that around 54% of participants experienced skin reactions, heart abnormalities and nausea. These side effects are a result of large amounts of artificial flavours, caffeine, creatine, and other agents in the pre-workout supplements.
Therefore, people with underlying health problems or weak hearts have to either avoid the supplements altogether or opt for the more natural pre-workouts in the form of certain foods.
Nutrients Required Before Workouts
Before diving into the pre-workout alternatives, let’s discuss the important nutrients your body requires before you decide to torture it at the gym! Ha! We kid!
We love a good robust workout session.
Think of your body as a vehicle. Before you take it for a ride you either need to fill in the gas or refuel it. You have to fuel yourself enough to not run out of gas in the middle of the road. Here is a breakdown of the important nutrients to fuel your body.
Most people avoid carbs like the plague, but they don’t realize how important they are for gym-goers and athletes. Carbs are what equip you to go the extra mile in the gym. They include glucose which not only fuels your body but your brain as well.
Protein, while doesn’t provide energy for your workout sessions, does contain amino acids which are crucial for repairing your muscles broken down during your sessions. It is recommended to add a bit of protein to your pre-workout.
Micronutrients such as B12 and magnesium are essential for energy production, and nerve and muscle health. Try adding vitamins and minerals to your daily routine for better functioning of your body.
5 Natural Pre-workout Alternatives
There are many pre-workout alternatives you can consume that are completely natural and are packed with helpful nutrients.
Let’s explore five pre-workout alternatives:
Bananas are rich in nutrients and are a favourite pre-workout alternative for millions of athletes and gym-goers across the globe.
A study suggests it is an excellent source of energy for people who engage in weightlifting or intense cardio sessions.
Bananas contain carbohydrates and potassium making them a perfect fuel for your body. They also slow down the process of glucose getting released into your bloodstream which enhances your muscle functioning during workouts.
2. Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
This combination is the winner of our pre-workout alternatives. Apples are a great energy booster, we’d go as far as to say that it gives a similar boost to that of coffee. The only difference is that it doesn’t give you the jitters as coffee does.
Now for a deathly combo, pair apple slices with peanut butter to hulk it out at the gym. This dynamic pre-workout combo is a perfect mix of nutrients required for a pre-workout.
If you want to amp it up, take a slice of multigrain toast, slather the peanut butter and place the apple slices on it. It will lift you and your spirits right before the gym.
You can never really go wrong with an old-fashioned bowl of oatmeal. It is a great source of carbs and fiber. It gives you plenty of energy and keeps you going for much longer in the gym.
However, be sure to consume it a couple of hours before your workout. For added flavour add blueberries and your choice of nut butter.
Yogurt is a super gut-friendly option which is much lighter compared to a bowl of oatmeal. It has enough protein and carbs to give you a much-needed energy boost immediately after consumption.
You can have a bit of yogurt with some almonds half an hour before your training session.
Adding a bit of granola to your yogurt is another good option. It adds an interesting flavour profile and crunch to your plain ol’ yogurt.
Try to use Greek yogurt instead of sweetened or overly processed yogurt. One serving of Greek yogurt has over 15 grams of protein.
Smoothies are one of the easiest pre-workout alternatives. The beauty is in their simplicity and quickness. Toss everything in the blender and you are done. They provide you with enough protein and carbs to help you power through your workouts.
You can do so much with the smoothies by playing around with different fruits, vegetables, nut butters, flavour profiles and other energy-boosting foods.
For delicious recipes check out our blog on 5 flavourful and healthy smoothie concoctions you can make at home.
There are many options in the market for pre-workout supplements. They may suit you; they may not suit you. However, you must use these supplements at your discretion, after consulting with your health care provider. If you feel like sticking to a more natural option then the above pre-workout alternatives may be the best for you.