You’ve stumbled upon this article because you want to know whether to eat oats pre workout. You want the best from your workout. But recent studies have you feeling confused. Is it better to eat pre workout? Or not to eat? If the answer is to eat, should you eat oats pre workout?
Sports Samurai understands. We’re here for you. There’s a lot of confusion around this topic. We’re here to put that right. Let’s start by talking about why most people would benefit from eating before they work out.
Why eat before you work out?
Eating before your workout is important, as stated here. The reason is simple: you need fuel to power your workout.
We understand why you may be confused. You’ve probably heard that it’s better to not eat before a workout, especially if your goal is weight loss. So why are we telling you to eat?
In theory, it makes sense to not eat before a workout. But, it doesn’t work in reality.
Your body needs energy to perform intense exercise. Whilst we understand that doing some low to medium intensity cardio without eating anything could be beneficial, we’re not talking about that here. We’re talking about intense workouts.
If that energy (in the form of food) is not present, it will use your muscle to provide that energy. You’ll feel tired. You won’t have the strength or energy to perform at your potential.
The exception to this if you do Intermittent Fasting and you train first thing in the morning. This works for some people. But otherwise, eating pre workout is important.
Why eat oats?
Now we know why eating pre workout is important, let’s talk about oats. There are many benefits of oats, including aiding weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, and many more.
Compared to other grains, oats are high in fibre, protein and nutrients. Essentially, they’re a superfood.
The reason why oats have become popular pre workout is that they’re one of the world’s best performance breakfast. Oatmeal is a low-glycemic carbohydrate that provides lasting energy for your workout.
This article lists 7 reasons to eat oatmeal every day:
- Can Lower Cholesterol, Stabilise Blood Sugar, and Help You ‘Go’
- May Protect Your Heart and Your Colon
- Make an Easy, Balanced Breakfast
- Provide Important Vitamins and Minerals
- Are Gluten-Free
- May Help You Control Your Weight
- Can Be Savory, Too
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Should you eat oats pre workout?
Now, the real reason you’re here.
You know the importance of eating before a workout, and you know the benefits of oats. All the signs are pointing to yes to eating oats pre workout.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The answer depends on two things:
- What is your goal?
- When was the last time you had a meal?
What is your goal?
If your goal is to put on weight (and muscle!), and you’re not consuming as many calories as you’d like to, it’s a no brainer. Oats are great for pre workout. And you need the extra calories. There’s a reason why they’re one of our 10 best foods for muscle growth.
Pro Tip: Consider having ground oats or oats in a smoothie if you’re struggling to get enough calories. Drinking calories is usually easier than eating them.
If your goal is to lose weight, it can get complicated.
Oats are still great pre workout, but you need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. If you can fit oats in, and maintain a calorie deficit for the day, they’re a fantastic option. Eat them, for sure.
Maintaining a calorie deficit is what’s important here, though. You can’t lose weight without it. Usually, the answer to whether you should eat oats pre workout depends on the last time you’ve had a meal (more below).
If you’re feeling tired and you need a boost, and haven’t eaten for a while, oats pre workout might be an option. But if this means you won’t be in a calorie deficit, you may need to sacrifice the pre workout oats, unfortunately!
When was the last time you had a meal?
If your goal is to put on weight and you’re not struggling to consume calories, you might want to think about the last time you ate a substantial meal. If you’ve eaten within the last couple of hours, you probably don’t need something like oats. Or if you do, a small portion will do. Otherwise, consider a piece of fruit or something small. This should be enough to get your through your workout.
If you haven’t eaten for a while, oats pre workout is a great idea. They’ll provide you the energy you need, as mentioned above.
Pro Tip: If this is you, try eating your pre workout oats around 45 to 90 minutes before you work out. Otherwise, you may feel too full to work out.
If your goal is to lose weight, you’re going to need to make a decision here. How are you feeling now? Are you ready to work out? Could you do without any food (making it easier to create a calorie deficit, of course)? If so, in our opinion, there’s no point eating for the sake of eating. Save the calories for post workout. You could even have oats post workout, but that’s a story for another day!
If you haven’t eaten in a while, or you’re feeling tired, oats pre workout could be a good idea. They’ll give you the energy you need. Either way, make sure you’re maintaining a calorie deficit. Don’t eat more than you have to pre workout so that you still get a good workout, but still have enough calories left for the rest of the day.
As you’ve seen above, the question about whether you should eat oats pre workout isn’t as simple and straightforward as it sounds. There are many considerations. Like most things, the answer is: it depends.
How can you consume oats?
If you’ve decided oats are for you, there are numerous ways to consume them. We’ve listed the most popular ways:
- In a bowl, cooked in a microwave or on the hob
- Blended, using a blender (usually with milk or water, and fruit)
- Overnight oats, left in the fridge overnight
- Other forms, including pancakes, waffles, bread, flapjacks, and more
See here for more delicious ways to have oats.
Are oats better than other carbohydrates?
Oats are just one form of carbohydrate. You have plenty more, such as quinoa, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruit, and more. A full list can be found here.
Are oats better than other carbohydrates for that pre workout energy?
Some studies seem to think so. Some don’t. The studies that disagree say more simple carbohydrates pre workout are better than oats pre workout. Examples include yoghurt with fruit, hummus on toast, fruit smoothies, and more.
Sorry to say this, but again, it depends. From our experience at Sports Samurai, we prefer oats. This is because they keep us full, and full of energy throughout our workout. We usually have them about 90 minutes before we workout, and then perhaps have a cup of coffee 15 minutes before.
However, this doesn’t mean that they’ll work for everyone. Everyone is different.
Pro Tip: Try other carbohydrates pre workout for energy, and see what works for you. Oats are just an option.
In this article, we’ve answered the question: Should you eat oats pre workout? We’ve discussed the importance of eating pre workout, why oats are popular pre workout and the benefits they provide, and discussed whether oats pre workout is the right food to have. We’ve also discussed other forms of carbohydrates, and compared these to oats.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to have oats pre workout, try experimenting with various forms. If regular oats from a bowl make you feel full before a workout, try blending them. There are various ways to have them, and each way will impact you in a different way. Find what works for you.
Do you eat oats pre workout? If so, how do you eat them? If not, what do you eat pre workout? Let us know in the comments section below.