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Does Eating a Banana Before Workout Help? What Experts Think

Anthony Diaz
Published by Anthony Diaz
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 26, 2022

As a fitness trainer, I’ve had a lot of clients come to me seeking to know if bananas are a good pre-workout snack.

I sat down with my dietician and went through dozens of research papers and relevant information to get to know if it is best to eat bananas as a pre-workout.

Let’s see if bananas are worth the hype.

Quick Summary

  • Bananas have nutrients like potassium and carbohydrates, which are the building blocks of energy.
  • Just one medium banana is nutrient-rich, providing carbohydrates and fiber, which are important minerals that may support muscle contractions.
  • Bananas are low in fat, making them easy to digest compared to other meals.

Banana As Pre-Workout Food

Protein powder in a drink

Bananas have become an adaptable snack.

They may be put into protein shakes, drinks, fruit salads, or oatmeal, making them simple to integrate into your regimen and providing the apparent lift that consuming a banana before exercise gives.

Bananas are high in carbohydrates, which are the building blocks of energy, and contain critical elements like potassium.

It's why elite athletes frequently consume bananas before competing [1].

This is particularly true for tennis players, who begin each game with a banana and afterward nibble on them amid sets, maintaining a necessary supply of nutrients.

So, first and foremost, let's take a closer look at the importance of consuming a banana before a workout.

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3 Benefits Of Banana As A Pre Workout Snack

Bananas in yellow background

The nutritional composition of a banana is ideal for a meal that offers the energy needed to get past strenuous, sweaty exercises. Here’s why.

1. They Are High In Carbohydrates

Bananas provide a lot of carbs; they're among the finest carb sources you'll get, with a normal-sized banana having roughly 27g, making it a good source of energy [2].

Your system breaks down carbohydrates to generate sugars as well as glucose, which are required for power generation.

This is a key mechanism that explains why these popular pre-workout snacks provide a good energy surge.

More significantly, eating carbs helps restore glycogen supplies; glycogen is a sort of reserved glucose accumulating within the liver and muscles [3].

It is utilized to produce energy, and depleting glycogen stores can cause weariness and cramping.

Glycogen stores are generally depleted throughout long-duration exercises, placing trainers and athletes in particular danger.

As a result, eating carb-rich bananas before a workout is suitable for individuals in this profession and can enable them to maintain their energy, improve their exercise performance and promote muscle function for extended periods.

2. They Are Rich In Potassium

Peeled off banana on a chopping board

Bananas are a good supply of potassium, with just one average banana providing around 10-14 percent of the necessary daily requirement for this vitamin [4].

Potassium is an essential mineral because it regulates blood pressure levels, neuron activity, and fluid balance [5].

A lack of potassium is linked to muscle cramps and discomfort, which has been shown by multiple studies and is significant in putting a stop to an exercise [6].

To address this, potassium aids in the regulation of muscle contractions, which help ease muscle soreness, and helps support muscle health.

"A medium banana is nutrient-rich, providing 24 grams of carbohydrates—14 of which are sugar and 3 of which are fiber,"

- Kelly Jones, MS

3. They Are An Easily Digestible Source Of Energy

In addition to providing a good quantity of carbohydrates per serving, bananas also contain fiber.

Fiber can assist decrease blood sugar uptake, supplying your cells with a constant flow of glucose to aid you in pushing through your exercise [7].

Ripe bananas are high in simple carbohydrates and low in fat, rendering them as easily digested in comparison to other meals.

For instance, bananas are frequently prescribed for persons suffering from digestive disorders such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms.

As a result, bananas can offer your system long-lasting power without weighing you down or creating stomach trouble as an easy pre-workout snack.

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How Long Before A Workout Should You Eat Banana?

Banana slices in a bowl

You should eat your banana 30 to 60 minutes before a workout. You'll be relieved to hear that fruits provide their energy rather quickly. So time isn't a big deal.

This allows your body plenty of time to start processing the carbohydrates while also allowing you to load up with potassium before your next workout.

I often advise my clients to experiment with various timings to determine what makes them feel more comfortable and improves their efficiency the most.

Bananas have a reduced glycemic index, making them ideal for pre-workout fueling. Their fullness effect may also help to prevent hunger [8].

Who Can Benefit From A Banana As A Pre-workout?

Holding a single banana

Athletes, cyclists, and persons who can not tolerate caffeinated beverages benefit from bananas as a pre-workout.

Although effective, these beverages are frequently filled with additional sugars and stimulants; excessive sugar may be harmful.

Furthermore, excessive caffeine consumption can create jitters or even panic, not to forget that many individuals are caffeine sensitive.

Consuming a banana before working out offers a much slower, more sustained energy release, reducing the likelihood of jitters and crashes.

A pre-exercise banana is an excellent choice for everyone, from regular gym goers to bodybuilders - they're especially popular among professionals who engage in an intense workout.

The rich nutritional composition of a banana may assist anyone looking for a long-term source of energy.

FAQs

Is It Okay To Eat Bananas Before Workout?

Yes, it is okay to eat a banana before a workout. It contains elements like potassium and carbohydrates, which are essential for energy production.

Can I Eat Bananas On An Empty Stomach?

No, eating bananas on an empty stomach is not a good idea. Bananas' high natural sugar content provides a burst of energy that will leave you feeling drained within a few hours.

Do Bananas Help Build Muscles?

Yes, bananas help build muscles as they are ideal fruits for muscle growth due to their high potassium content.

What Are The Side Effects Of Bananas?

Banana side effects may include bloating, gas, cramps, softer stools, vertigo, and vomiting.

What Is Unhealthy About Bananas?

The unhealthy thing about bananas is that too many bananas and a lack of basic dental hygiene can contribute to tooth decay.

Don’t Forget a Banana for Your Next Gym Session

Now that you've learned the importance of consuming a banana prior to your workout, I strongly encourage you to pack one in your gym bag for your next training session.

But that does not mean you take only bananas as your pre-workout food, as they lack other essential nutrients required.

Instead, balance it with the following pre-workout supplements:

Having used these products on my clients and myself for over a year, I can attest to their effectiveness in providing you with more stamina while simultaneously relieving muscle soreness and beating fatigue.


References:

  1. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-bananas-athletes-2956.html 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3355124/ 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905295/ 
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-bananas-a-day 
  5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/ 
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/potassium-deficiency-symptoms 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257631/
  8. https://www.rosnutrition.com/ie/insight/the-glycemic-index-in-sports-nutrition

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