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5 natural foods that can energize your workouts

Coffee. 5 foods that can energize your workouts
Coffee. 5 foods that can energize your workoutsPhoto by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Do you sometimes feel tired or sluggish during your workouts?

Do you sometimes get into the gym and feel drained of energy to the point where you can't workout at the intensity you want?

If so, it could be that you need to change your pre-workout foods. If you are eating the wrong foods, chances are your energy will suffer as will your workouts. Here are 5 pre-workout foods you can add to your diet to get better workouts and better results in the gym. (View Slideshow)

Training on An Empty Stomach

Many people go to the gym on an empty stomach. This is one of the worst things you can do, especially if you intend on weight training or resistance training.

The main thing your body needs before you lift weights is carbohydrates, preferably complex ones. Complex carbohydrates are your body's primary energy source when doing intense exercise at 80% of your max heart rate or beyond. This is known as anaerobic exercise.

If the body lacks adequate carbohydrates when exercising above 80%, it will either use muscle mass for energy (the last thing you want to do) or just stop performing the exercise all together, or fail, before the best results could have been gained with the help of carbohydrates by getting that one final rep.

They are also used at lower but still considerate portions at intensities below 80%, which is called aerobic exercise, but the best results you can get for strength and building muscle mass and muscle tone and definition on the body occurs when you weight train to intensities above 80%.

Foods High in Simple Sugars and Snacks

Another common thing many people do who lack energy in the gym is they eat the wrong foods- foods that are high in sugar content, lack complex carbohydrates, and really come up empty in terms of the energy that can be gained from them. These can be things like chips, crackers, candy bars, some protein bars that are really high in sugars, and other similar snacks and simple carbohydrates that also spike insulin levels, resulting in short term energy with a big let down soon after.

For many who eat these foods prior to training, they may feel a short burst of energy in the first 20 minutes to half hour after eating them, and then all of a sudden it drops and they are let down, feeling sluggish. The key to getting the best results in a workout is the ability to sustain your optimum energy levels throughout, at least for an hour to an hour and a half or more. This can only be achieved with the right foods, the right energy sources.

Caffeine Can Boost Your Attention Span, Focus and Alertness

While some sources of caffeine can be harmful, such as energy drinks, weight loss pills, and similar untested by the FDA supplements, natural forms of caffeine can definitely enhance your workouts. From coffee to green tea, or black tea, you can choose which one you like the most and increase your mental energy for a great workout.

By adding these 5 foods prior to your workout, you will be sure that you can perform and train at your optimal levels and extract the energy and results from your workouts you are looking for. So try them and notice the results. (View Slideshow)