Are Nuts the Best Pre-Workout Snack?
We are all looking for more ways to improve our workout performance, including searching for the best pre-workout drink or snack that can propel our performance to another level. Have you been wondering if nuts are the best pre-workout snack? Let’s find out.
What Does Your Body Need Pre-Workout?
In order for your body to perform well during a workout, it needs fuel. The body draws energy to fuel workouts from carbohydrates and fats.
Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel that the body relies on for energy. Carbohydrates replenish glycogen stored in the muscles. Glycogen is what provides muscles with energy for bursts of movement. Carbohydrates are especially important to fuel short, high-intensity workouts.
Fats are also used by the body for energy. The body uses fats specifically to help sustain longer moderate-intensity workouts and increase endurance.
Protein, even though it is not used as a direct source of energy, is necessary for performance. Protein increases muscle protein synthesis, improves muscle recovery and increases muscle performance.
Nuts: The Basics
Nuts are a very nutrient-dense food. They are rich in healthy fats, protein, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and B-vitamins. They are low in carbohydrates and cholesterol-free. One serving of nuts is equal to 1 ounce, and contains between 160 and 200 calories depending on the type of nut.
Are Nuts the Best Pre-Workout Snack?
Since nuts are an excellent source of fats and protein, they may have the ability to help sustain your energy during your workout if you eat them as a pre-workout snack. Fats are an essential fuel source that your body uses for energy. However, we often have enough fat stored in our bodies. Therefore, it is not necessary to consume fat for pre-workout fuel. But, even though you do not need to consume fat for fuel, eating healthy fats may improve endurance. Protein itself does not provide fuel for energy. It improves muscle performance and muscle protein synthesis.
The only issue with eating nuts as a pre-workout snack is that they are very low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are necessary pre-workout fuel as they nourish your muscles. Without eating carbohydrates pre-workout, you may lack the energy your body needs to perform, especially during high-intensity workouts.
All this considered, the best pre-workout snack is a snack that contains both carbohydrates and proteins. Both carbohydrates and protein are necessary to provide your body with enough energy to complete your workouts and increase muscle performance.
Where does this leave nuts? Nuts are excellent pre-workout snacks when they are consumed along with any source of carbohydrates. Some sources of carbohydrates that can be eaten with nuts include fresh fruit, dried fruit or raisins.
Just make sure not to eat nuts right before working out. The high fat and fibre content in nuts can slow down your digestion. If your digestion is slowed down, then your body may not be able to convert the carbohydrates into energy when it needs to. If you plan on eating nuts as a pre-workout snack, you should only eat one serving of them since they are very high in fat. It is also important to make sure that you eat them at least one to two hours before you work out to give your body time to digest.
Which Nut Would Be the Best Pre-Workout?
Different nuts vary in nutritional value. If you want to pick one nut as the best pre-workout snack, you should look for the nut that is the highest in carbohydrates and lowest in fats. In this case, the winning nut would be cashews. One serving (one ounce) of cashews contains 157 calories, 8.56 grams of carbohydrates, 5.16 grams of protein and 12.4 grams of fat.
The Bottom Line
Even though nuts are nutrient-dense and a healthy snack, they may not be the best pre-workout snack to eat. If you want to eat nuts as a pre-workout snack, make sure to eat them in combination with a healthy source of carbohydrates. Also, make sure not to eat more than one serving of nuts and eat them well in advance of your workout time.