Here's Exactly What You Should Be Eating Before a Workout

POPSUGAR Photography | Jenny Sugar
POPSUGAR Photography | Jenny Sugar

Want a faster metabolism? Are you working out soon? Trying to gain some strength and muscle? Fun news here: you need carbs. "It's important to eat carbohydrates, especially if you are trying to gain strength and muscle, which leads to a higher metabolism," said DIAKADI trainer Liz Letchford, MS, ATC, PhD candidate.

If you're trying to decide what to eat before a workout, don't overcomplicate it. You don't need a fancy protein shake or pre-workout drink, just some simple carbohydrates.

Don't skip your food, either. It's essential you have proper fuel, regardless of what kind of workout you're doing. "Your muscles need to have enough energy to endure your workout, whether it is strength or cardio," Liz told POPSUGAR. "That energy, in the form of glucose, comes from the food you eat [read: carbs]."

Why carbs? Carbohydrates turn into glucose, which is the type of fuel your body needs to perform at peak levels. "The breakdown of glucose is the body's preferred method of turning food into energy," she said. "When there isn't enough glucose in the blood or stored in the muscles (as glycogen), it is much harder for your body to generate enough energy to fuel your workout."

And you know what that means: no energy for exercise will "leave you feeling weak, tired, or in extreme cases unable to take one more step towards the finish line." So in sum: you need carbs. Don't fear them. Eat a pancake, some oatmeal, or a piece of fruit to have a great workout, get stronger, and improve your metabolism.