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Good pre-workout foods

Earlier this month of maybe last month, you were probably one of those people that declared they were going to lose weight in 2011. This could be your year. Whether you've been going to a gym or working out at home, you may be asking yourself what you should be eating before you workout. Here is my tips on pre-workout foods.

Tip 1: Eat about an hour before you workout to give your body time to digest your food.

Tip 2: Eat food composed of slow-burning complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, rice pasta and certain cereals. Eat something with at least 15% protein content. Keep portion size moderate. You don't want to feel sluggish or bloated during your workout.

Tip 3: Stay away from sugar before the workout. No candy, soft drinks or other junky foods.

Tip 4: Hydrate before, during and after your workout

Here are some foods that are good workout pre-meals or snacks:

Oatmeal - Oats will stay with you during your workout and the B-vitamins within them help convert the carbohydrates to energy.

Trail Mix - Be careful with this one. There are so many different kinds. Remember this: nuts and dried fruit are good; sweet candies are bad.

Bananas and apples - Bananas sometimes get a bad rap for the sugar content but if you are working out hard you will work it off. The potassium content in bananas maintain proper nerve and muscle function.

Carbohydrate energy gels - These are good if you are running or playing any quick burst sports like tennis or racquetball. Add something with protein though too.

Energy bars - Another minefield. Choose a bar that has a good balance of protein and carbohydrates but watch out for too much sugar. Some are just overglorified candy bars.

Almonds - You can eat about 12 almonds before you workout and get a good balance of protein and carbohydrates and also a bonus of Omega-3s and Omega-6s.

Lentils - a nutritious powerhouse. Limited yourself to a cup of this and it will provide a good source of protein, carbs, fiber and other good nutrients.

Smoothie - You can make a good smoothie before you workout with a protein shake mix, frozen fruit, and either yogurt or milk. Again, keep portion size to about a 12 - 14oz portion. It's easy to over mix these and have extra to overindulge with and then you wonder why you aren't loosing weight.

Depending on your workouts and your body, the portion size of these will vary. Just don't overdo it and these foods will provide you with the necessary energy boost you need to kick your workout into high gear. Enjoy your workout!

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