Natural Pre Workout Alternatives [Natural Powders, Seeds, & Supplements]

Whether you’re an athlete or an everyday active mom like me, you undoubtedly want to get the most out of your workouts.

Still, you also want to ensure that you’re doing it the right way, without compromising your health or unknowingly putting harmful supplements into your body. 

Many pre-workout formulas are offered on the market today, and the choices are endless. But did you know that many of these products contain ingredients that can harm your health?

Not to mention they can be expensive. If you don’t know that a product is doing you any good, it can be hard to justify spending your hard-earned paycheck on it. 

The good news is that several natural pre-workout alternatives will give you the energy and fuel you need to get through your workout with the peace of mind that you’re making a healthy choice for your body, and you won’t break the bank!

Read on to learn about easy pre-workout alternatives you may already have in your kitchen, such as bananas, oats, coffee, and protein powder. 

What Is Pre-Workout and What Should I Know About It?

Pre-workout is a generic term for a supplement product meant to be taken before your workout to enhance athletic performance.

Pre-workout can be found in liquid, tablet, powder, bar, or capsule form. In the past, they have been popular among athletes and bodybuilders.

However, they have also gained popularity over the years among everyday people looking to stay fit.   

Reading the never-ending list of ingredients for your pre-workout can be time-consuming, but the genuinely frustrating part is trying to decipher what all those ingredients mean.

Are they natural? Can they do more harm than good? Everyone is unique, and each of us has different nutritional needs and goals. What works for one person may not for another. 

The issue with many is that they often contain excessive caffeine, artificial sweeteners, dyes, and emulsifiers.

Not to mention several ingredients that we can’t pronounce. Big red flag! So here, we’ll break down some natural pre-workout alternatives.

These alternatives are based on whole food and require absolutely no time googling ingredients.

Depending on the type of workout you like to do, whether running, strength training, or endurance type workouts and your fitness goals, there is an option that will work for you. 

Why Should I Have A Pre-Workout Supplement Or Snack?

A healthy pre-workout snack or supplement can provide the energy to get you through your workout without losing stamina.

It can also help maintain your blood sugar and keep you from feeling depleted (and ravenous) after your workout.

It’s essential to tailor your pre-workout plan to align with your fitness goals. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, consider your meal’s calories count and that you’re getting the most value out of it.

It’s also essential to ensure that what you’re eating isn’t too large if you plan to work out less than one hour after eating, as this can weigh you down. 

The best pre-workout foods and supplements contain complex carbohydrates and protein.

Complex carbohydrates differ from simple carbs in that they take more time for your body to break down and digest.

Complex carbohydrates can be found in whole, unprocessed foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Natural Pre-Workout Alternatives 

Our blood carries it to our cells, where it is used as energy. The following pre-workout alternatives are great options for doing just that: 

Bananas

Bananas

Bananas are a good choice pre-workout because they have complex carbohydrates, potassium, amino acids, and minerals that can quickly boost your energy levels for a great workout.

For an added boost of protein, add a couple of teaspoons of all-natural peanut butter or other nut butter.

Oatmeal 

Another strong choice for pre-workout is oats. Oatmeal is naturally sugar-free and offers slow-releasing energy, carbs, and a small amount of protein to keep you fueled up for workouts longer than 40 minutes.

Pair it with unsweetened Greek yogurt and fruit with a small amount of honey for an extra protein boost with some added sweetness, but steer clear of adding excessive sugar to your oats, as this can defeat the healthy purpose of your snack. 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse offering antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium to sustain your energy levels through your workout.

Turn your sweet potato into a delicious breakfast item by first cutting it into thin slices and popping it in your toaster or toaster oven as a great alternative to toast.

Pop an egg on top for protein or bake sweet potato chips with sea salt for a crunchy and energizing snack. 

Protein Shake

Protein shakes can be great fuel for your body, but you need to be aware of what’s in them, just like with your pre-workout.

Many brands contain too much refined sugar and questionable ingredients.

Protein powder

If you’re looking for suitable protein, check out Sunwarrior organic protein.

It’s USDA certified organic, vegan, and great for pre-and post-workout endurance and recovery. I like to mix mine with almond milk, banana, and collagen peptides.

Collagen Peptides

Collagen peptides are amino acids that are the building blocks of collagen, the body’s most abundant protein.

Research shows that taking collagen peptides can stimulate muscle growth after exercise and reduce inflammation, so it’s a great thing to incorporate into your pre-workout routine.

Collagen can be found in food items such as bone broth and pork, and chicken skin.

However, you can also conveniently use it in powder form to supplement your smoothie or add to your oatmeal.

Sunwarrior makes a great collagen product. Another alternative is this one from Vital Proteins that is enhanced with vitamin C for enhanced effect. 

Creatine

Creatine is a molecule found in our cells that is known to increase power and exercise performance, and boost strength.

In addition, creatine can safely increase muscle mass and strength, making it an ideal pre-workout supplement. 

Creatine is conveniently available in both capsule and powder form and is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Try this one from Optimum Nutrition.

Beetroot

Studies show that beetroot has many benefits for your workout routine. For example, beetroot has been known to boost blood flow helping tired muscles heal.

In addition, beets are rich in nitrates, including dietary nitrates, which turn into nitric oxide in the body, therefore relaxing blood vessels and offering an anti-inflammatory response in the body and increasing stamina for your workout. 

If beet juice is not readily available, a convenient way to get your beets in pre-workout is through a concentrated beet crystal power such as this one from HumanN Superbeets.

It can easily mix in with water for a pre-workout drink. As a bonus, beetroot can help lower blood pressure naturally as well. 

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds contain omega-3 fats that are packed with antioxidants and are also great for sustained energy.

In addition, they have protein which makes them an ideal post-workout snack as well.

Add them into your smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal for an added boost, or try them in chia pudding for a delicious and nutritious breakfast. 

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are yet another great option to add to your breakfast pre-workout.

Like chia seeds, they are packed with omega-3’s and contain omega-6’s, which can help regulate metabolism. They are also easy to digest, making them ideal before a workout. 

Dates

Dates are an easy snack when you need a quick burst of energy for endurance-type workouts such as long-distance runs or swims. Marathon runners and triathletes love this portable snack. 

Dates are beneficial since they are potassium and magnesium-rich and packed with healthy carbohydrates and fiber. Pair them with nuts to add some protein.

Lara bars are a great way to incorporate dates into your pre-workout since they are made with simple, all-natural ingredients and contain no artificial sweeteners. Instead, the dates act as the natural sweetener in this product. 

Coffee Or Green Tea

If you’re able to handle caffeine, a couple of good choices are coffee or green tea. Studies have shown that caffeine is beneficial in boosting your mood and improving alertness. 

If you’re a coffee drinker, make sure to steer clear of the sweetened creamers and heavy syrups that can add calories and cancel out the benefits of this pre-workout drink, and try to stick to 1-2 cups. Any more could make you jumpy. 

If you’re prone to a caffeine crash, green tea may be the better option for you as it has a lower amount of caffeine than coffee.

In addition, green tea has significant health benefits when consumed regularly and contains theanine, a compound with excellent benefits, including increased mental focus. 

Matcha green tea is a type of green tea made up of pulverized tea leaves. It has a higher concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties than regular green tea in leaf form. 

match coffee

The Benefits Of Salt

It might come as a surprise, but did you know that your sweat is loaded with sodium?

If you’re working out in the heat, it’s not uncommon for some people to lose half to a full liter of sweat during their workout, which can lead to lethargy and muscle cramping.

Therefore, it’s essential to plan ahead and boost your sodium intake before your workout.

Sports or electrolyte drinks can be beneficial, but you want to make sure the sugar levels aren’t too high.

Nuun electrolyte tablets fit the bill. Simply drop a tablet in your water and go. Drinking coconut water or incorporating some nuts into your oatmeal or smoothie are also great ways to get some added sodium pre-workout. 

Are There Any Foods To Avoid Before My Workout? 

It’s a good idea to avoid foods that are heavy in fat, fiber, or refined sugar (simple carbohydrates) before you work out.

Since fiber takes a longer time to digest, you may end up feeling sluggish if you eat fiber-rich food such as broccoli, cabbage, or lentils before you exercise.  

Foods high in fat, even the healthy kind, can weigh you down and make you tired, the exact opposite of how you want to feel before working out.

So say no to that fast-food burger or Philly cheesesteak before hitting the gym, no matter how tempting it might be, and save the healthy fats for post-workout. 

What Are Good Foods To Consume Post Work Out?

Just like it’s a good idea to fuel your body before your workout, it’s equally important to make sure you’re nourishing your body post-workout to assist with recovery and restore glycogen levels. 

The best post-workout fuel will have a focus on protein with some complex carbohydrates.

Pair lean protein like chicken, eggs, turkey, or salmon with whole-grain bread or brown rice or Greek yogurt paired with fruit. An organic protein shake is also a good choice. 

Don’t be afraid of healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and seeds. Healthy fats help keep your blood sugar stable and keep you feeling satisfied. 

Drink Up

Perhaps the most important thing when you’re working out is to stay hydrated! Bring a large water bottle with you, and make sure to drink frequently before, during, and after your workout.

Staying hydrated can prevent you from feeling sluggish afterward and avoid headaches due to dehydration. 

Be mindful of the weather as well. If it’s a hot day, drink more water than you usually would. 

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to fuel your body for a great workout if you know what kinds of food and supplements to consume beforehand.

The great thing is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money or spend time preparing your pre-workout if you know what to reach for instead. 

Many of these snacks are portable and easy to bring with you to the gym or on a run. Don’t forget to pack your water along too!

It’s essential to pay attention to how your body feels before and after your workout and stay focused on your fitness goals.

If you feel sluggish and depleted, you may need to change your strategy. The end goal is always to feel your best. 

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