President of Nutrition in Motion, P.C., and registered dietitian and sports nutritionist Cristina Rivera rises 2 hours before her morning workout so she can nosh on a healthy breakfast.
"Pre-workout meals should be high in carbohydrates, as this is what gives you ‘gas to go' and prevents muscle from being used for energy," Rivera says. "The meal should also be low in fat to prevent GI discomfort and include some protein to begin the muscle-building process during your actual workout. My favorite breakfast is good old PB&J. Since I don't eat flour, I choose an Ezekiel English muffin, which is an organic sprouted grain and incredibly unprocessed. My favorite organic peanut butter is the creamy Trader Joe's kind; I make sure to keep it to less than a tablespoon to give me just enough protein without feeling heavy in my stomach, since PB can take a while to digest."
Instead of jelly, which typically has high fructose corn syrup, Rivera's uses about a tablespoon of fruit spread. "This way, I am able to sneak some extra fruit in my breakfast, and the natural sugars give me the energy I need to get through my workouts," she says. "I always add half a banana to ensure that I will have eaten the recommended amount of carbohydrates before a workout. Bananas are also a really good source of potassium, which is a mineral that regulates muscle contraction and can prevent muscle cramping. Plus, they taste yummy with the peanut butter!"