Are Eggs a Good Pre-Workout Meal?
Eggs are one of the best breakfast inclusions because of their delicious versatility. Scrambled, sunny side up, poached, over-easy, or hard-boiled – there’s really no wrong way to eat them. But is there a wrong time to eat them?
The foods you eat to fuel your body before a workout are important for your performance during your session, and while eggs are often touted as a great post-workout snack to boost muscle growth, they might also be great for pre-workout energy.
Here’s everything you need to know about eating eggs as a pre-workout meal.
What Are the Benefits of Eggs?
Scrambled eggs, or any type of egg, are a great food to incorporate into your diet regardless of the timing — and one of the main reasons for this is due to their high levels of protein per serving.
Protein is one of three macronutrients outside of carbs and fats, and it is a building block for strength, muscle protein synthesis, and muscle growth. One single small egg contains a little over six grams of quality protein.
A main benefit is that, together, the egg whites and egg yolks contain all nine essential amino acids to support the recovery, maintenance, and growth of your muscles. So not only does this help with your recovery after your workout, but it can also provide you with some much-needed energy to perform at your best.
Eggs are also an excellent source of “good” cholesterol. While cholesterol gets a bad rap, there are two types: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Eggs can increase levels of HDL cholesterol, which is known as good cholesterol that absorbs cholesterol in the blood and returns it to the liver. It can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Eggs are also loaded with other nutrients and vitamins. In a serving of two eggs, you can get massive amounts of vitamin D, folate, riboflavin, and selenium which all work to regulate different processes in your body.
What Makes Eggs a Good Pre-Workout Meal?
Eggs on their own are a good pre-workout snack, but they’re not the best. This is because they’re good sources of fats and protein, but they are low in carbs. Carbs are important to have before a workout because carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy that the body is able to use. So if you load up with some carbs before a workout, you’ll get some quick energy to perform at your very best.
But you can add eggs to a carb to make it a more holistic pre-workout meal. Try adding a sunny-side-up egg to some whole grain toast for added carbs, or put some eggs into a tortilla for some carbs while also making a delicious burrito.
You can also make an omelet with some added veggies for some carbs and some extra vitamins, or you can pair your eggs with some yogurt and granola for added protein and some carbs.
No matter how you spin it, the benefits of eggs are too good to give up, so you should definitely eat them before a workout. With that said, timing matters.
Eating within an hour of an intense workout can cause your body to start digesting the good during your workout. Not only can this make you feel bloated, but it can also make you lose energy during your session, as your body uses energy for digestion rather than working out.
We recommend eating your pre-workout eggs at least an hour before your sweat session to get their benefits without being sluggish during your training.
What Is the Importance of a Pre-Workout Meal?
Eating before a workout can provide your body with the energy it needs for peak performance. If you work out on an empty stomach, you probably won’t be able to muster up the energy you need to lift your heaviest, run your fastest, or hike your furthest.
When you exercise, your body converts glycogen into glucose, which plays a crucial role in muscle contraction. If you don’t have any energy, your body will have to continue to tap into these stores, and your muscles will fatigue more quickly. Eating food, like eggs, before a workout can amp up your energy stores to keep you going for longer.
Working out on an empty stomach can also cause you to cramp up and feel unwell during your session, especially if it’s intense. When you have food in your system, it can give you a better chance of finishing a workout without discomfort.
If you like to work out in the morning, it’s a good idea to eat just a tiny snack before working out, even if you don’t have an hour to spare. Something small like a granola bar can give you a boost of energy until you’re able to replenish it after your workout finishes.
Are Eggs Good for Post-Workout Fuel?
Replenishing lost energy after a workout is just as important as fueling up ahead of time. And eggs are just as good as post-workout food because of their high levels of proteins and nutrients.
Protein is an important macronutrient for muscle synthesis and muscle growth, which is essential after a workout in order for you to get closer to your strength gains. Whey protein, which is found in eggs and animal products, contains all nine essential amino acids, making them a great pick for post-workout energy.
It’s good to pair your eggs with another source of carbs to give you some energy. A banana is full of nutrients like potassium to benefit your whole body while pairing your eggs with toast can make it feel more satiating overall.
What Are Some Other Great Pre-Workout Foods?
Eggs are a great pre-workout food option, but they’re not the only thing you can eat to max out your gains the next time you work out. Here are some more workout foods that are just as great.
Sweet potatoes are a delicious addition to any meal, and they’re also great for workout fueling. Sweet potatoes are an amazing source of carbohydrates for energy, but they’re also lower in calories compared to similar types of carbs like rice or bread.
Sweet potatoes are also filled with nutrients like vitamin A (769% of your Daily Value) as well as vitamin C and manganese. They can also promote gut health and might support healthy vision.
A protein shake is a great way for you to get some added protein intake into your diet in an easy way. And many protein shakes are super portable and easy to take with you. You can probably even drink your protein shake as you work out to help your muscles recover as you’re completing your workout.
Toast With Peanut Butter
Peanut butter, almond butter, and other nut butters are excellent sources of protein as well as healthy fats. These are great pre-workout snacks that can give you long-lasting energy, especially when you pair them with a fast-acting form of energy in carbohydrates, like whole-grain toast.
Eggs are a fantastic source of protein that can turn any breakfast into a great one – but they’re also a great meal to incorporate before a workout. Since they are loaded with nutrients and protein, they can help synthesize muscles as they break down during a workout while also providing you energy.
You can amp up their benefits by pairing them with a carbohydrate in fruits or toast to get necessary energy boosts during your workout. You can also eat eggs after a workout to feel the same benefits while also replenishing lost energy.
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LDL and HDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides | cdc.gov.
Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts | Mayo Clinic
Sweet Potatoes: Six Health Benefits | Community Cancer Center