When determining what exactly to eat before you jump into exercise, consider going for carbs first. Glucose is the preferred source of fuel for your brain and body, explains Nora Minno, R.D., a dietitian and trainer with Daily Burn. “Glucose is a simple sugar, known as a monosaccharide which can be obtained by consuming a more complex carbohydrate that gets broken down overtime into glucose,” she says. Those complex carbs could be anything from whole grain bread to fruit.
Also, while protein doesn’t necessarily give you the energy you need to move efficiently, eating it before a workout will help to make sure you have enough amino acids to repair the muscle you break down during your workout, Minno says. That’s why it’s smart to have some protein mixed in with your pre-workout snack or meal, along with those carbs.
Minno also notes that micronutrients like vitamin B12 can help with energy production and muscle and nerve health, while magnesium can help with muscle function, as well. So, consider adding these to your list of must-have nutrients.
Finally, all experts mention that hydration is key to performing at your best. Clark suggests monitoring your urine color first thing in the morning—if it’s dark and concentrated, that means you’re starting the day under-hydrated. You should be peeing every two to four hours, and producing a lighter liquid, she says.