Best Foods to Eat Before Lifting Weights
Before a leg day, especially, at the gym, I always try to eat some spinach before hand some time the day of a workout, and the last meal I eat before working out will usually be a combination of beets and sweet potatoes along with some chicken for protein. I eat beets for the nitric oxide boost, sweet potatoes for the slow digestible carbs for sustained energy, and chicken breasts for protein.
Beets contain NO (aka nitric oxide), which increases blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the cells, which can help improve athletic endurance. This is basically the same effect you gain by taking the supplement L-arginine, which many body builders take to increase performance. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
Beets can increase stamina during a workout and are thought to increase tolerance to high intensity exercise.
Beets help to fight inflammation as well. Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress.
Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium which is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function and manganese.
Sweet potatoes are a low-glycemic index (GI) food, which release glucose very slowly into the bloodstream. Sweet potatoes are great for sustained energy so that you don't run out of steam during a long hard workout.
The nitrate in spinach is also thought to produce nitric oxide, which can increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to muscles.
Spinach contains beta-ecdysterone which can increase muscle size and strength, and octacosanol, which promotes strength. Spinach also is rich in the amino acid glutamine, which raises growth-hormone levels and levels of protein-synthesis-boosting leucine in muscle tissue, decreases muscle breakdown and helps your immune system.
Garlic increases testosterone. The active ingredient responsible for the testosterone boost in garlic is allicin. Sure garlic may give you bad breath, but you go to the gym to workout not socialize right? Garlic has also been shown to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol causes the break down of muscles. Garlic supplements are not nearly as effective as the real thing. The fresher the garlic the better. Cooking garlic reduces it's effectiveness.
Chicken breast is the favorite food for body builders, as it is a great source of lean protein. Of course, everyone pretty much knows a successful body builder needs protein to build muscles. Chicken breast contains niacin, vitamin B-6, and selenium.