Why Should You Eat a Banana Before Workout?

Exercise takes a lot of hard work. In order to maximize the results of your workout, you need to pay careful attention to what you eat. By getting the proper nutrients, you ensure your body has the energy to complete the workout, as well as the materials to build muscles and repair itself. One of the go-to nutrition strategies is having a banana before exercising.

Why Should You Eat a Banana Before Workout?

The benefits of eating a banana before exercising mainly rely on the following contents.

1.   Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the basic fuel units the body needs to survive. When working out, the body’s primary fuel is glycogen which is a type of carbohydrate. In general, carbohydrates provide great long-term energy which is useful for endurance activities. One way to get plenty of carbohydrates is to have a banana which has about 30 grams of carbs.

2.   Potassium

Potassium is an electrolyte which plays an important role in helping muscles function properly. When the body doesn’t get enough potassium, muscles can become painful and cramps can result. During a heavy workout, your body sweats, which results in loss of potassium. Eating a large banana which contains almost 500 mg of potassium helps the body replenish the potassium lost in sweat.

3.   Manganese

Manganese is especially important when working out because it allows the body to turn the food consumed into energy the body can use. Having a large banana before workout will help make the most of your physical activity by providing 0.37 mg of manganese.

When to Eat a Banana Before Exercising

The best time to eat a banana is about one hour before the workout or right after. If you eat it just before the workout, the body will send blood to the digestive system to digest the banana rather than send the blood to the muscles. However, eating a banana too far in advance of the workout means the body can't take advantage of the banana's nutrients. 

Three Banana Recipes to Fuel Your Workout

1.   Chai Banana Porridge

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana
  • ½ cup of blanched macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Berries of your choice
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey (amount needed will vary based on taste)
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ⅔ cup of desiccated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • A pinch of salt (to taste)
  • A pinch of nutmeg (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cardamon

Directions

  • Using a food processor or blender, place the almond and macadamia nuts and turn them into small pieces.
  • Place the banana into the food processor and mix until the banana is pureed.
  • Transfer the banana and nut puree into a saucepan; then add other ingredients except the honey and berries.
  • Simmer the porridge for about 5 minutes, then serve in small bowl and top with honey and berries to your preference.

2.   Banana-Walnut Bliss

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey (to taste)
  • 2 cups of low fat milk
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of crushed walnut

Directions

  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until the smoothie reaches your desired consistency. Try this recipe of banana before workout.

3.   Banana Sushi

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana
  • Nutella, chocolate almond butter and/or pistachio butter
  • Various seeds and nuts, such as pistachios, coconut, sunflower seeds, ground peanuts, ground walnuts and ground pecans

Directions

  • Peel the banana.
  • Coat the top of the banana in your choice of Nutella, chocolate almond butter or pistachio butter.
  • Sprinkle the various nuts and seeds on top of the banana to your preference.
  • Slice banana into ½ inch to 1 inch thick rolls.
  • Enjoy with a fork or chopsticks!

Other Foods to Eat Before Workout

1.   Coconut Water

Coconut water has plenty of electrolytes such as potassium. Another advantage of coconut water is that it has less sugar than store bought sports drinks. Coconut water offers carbohydrates that are easily used by the body to provide energy necessary for workout. Before your workout, you can drink coconut water straight up, or add it to a smoothie.

2.   Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a staple breakfast food, but it should also be a staple for pre-workout routines. This is due to oatmeal containing a lot of fiber and only a little sugar. To maximize its health benefits, avoid the pre-packaged oatmeal and buy the oatmeal advertised as slow cooked cereal. To make oatmeal tasty and nutritious, top your bowl with fresh fruit such as berries, and use only water or milk to make the oatmeal. Avoid topping oatmeal with granola or anything fatty.

3.   Whole-Grain Bread

Beside a banana before workout, try whole grain bread. It is a wonderful pre-workout food since it is high in carbohydrates and fiber. For added taste and energy, you can spread and place some jam, honey, peanut butter or slices of a hard boiled egg on the whole grain bread. Ideally, you can eat this snack about 45 minutes before your workout. It’s best to get about 17 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates before a workout.

4.   Fruit and Yogurt

Fruit has natural sugars and carbohydrates while yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) has a ton of protein. The fruit helps provide energy your body needs for the workout, while the yogurt has protein which will help the body repair and rebuild itself after the workout. Before working out, it’s advisable to have a bowl of Greek yogurt mixed with sliced fresh fruit.

5.   Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a convenient option for those who want the benefits of fruit without the inconvenience of getting it ready to eat, such as washing it, slicing it or using a utensil to eat it. Even though it’s been dehydrated, dried fruit will still have the sugar and carbs needed to energize your workout. You should try to eat about 1/4 cup of dried fruits, such as berries, pineapple, dates and apricots.

 
 
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