Apples and bananas are easy snacks to grab and go for a quick boost before a workout. But which one rises to the top when we peel back their nutritional benefits? Let’s look at how they can fuel the body effectively to judge which makes the best pre-workout snack.
Let’s face it, the market is crowded with protein bar flavours that no one asked for – when you can’t go wrong with a fresh piece of fruit. With fruit, there are no artificial sweeteners. Natural sugars, carbohydrates, and good old H20 ensure your body is well prepared for peak performance.
Harnessing the power of healthy snacks whilst on your fitness journey is crucial. How you move your body is one thing, but how you fuel it will unlock its full potential. So, which fruit snack can best help you achieve this: apples or bananas?
What is the best pre-workout fruit snack? Apple vs Banana.
When you think of a pre-workout snack, it’s all about a balance of protein and carbohydrates. So starting with the protein, how do apples and bananas compare?
Wheying up the protein
Bananas come out ahead with 1.8g of protein compared to just 0.5g in an apple. Protein is essential to maximise the results of your training and aid the recovery of the muscles. So bananas are also a perfect post-workout snack if recovery is a priority for you.
Apples may lack protein, but they are great paired with other protein sources like peanut butter for a pre-workout snack or added to a protein shake to boost fibre.
Carbs, it ain’t that complex
All fruits contain complex carbohydrates, which derive from their naturally occurring sugars. A banana contains 34.8g of carbohydrates, compared to less than half of that amount in an apple (15.7g).
This is reflected in both fruits’ glycemic index scores; apples have a low glycemic score of 39, meaning they have a small impact on blood sugar, whereas bananas have a score of 62, which makes blood sugar rise more quickly.
The glucose broken down from carbs is one of the primary sources of fuel for your body, so by consuming carb-rich bananas, you can increase levels of glucose stored in your muscles that are used for energy during exercise.
So high-carb fruit snacks such as bananas are great for longer duration workouts such as cycling or running as it delays your body’s use of this stored glucose, which improves performance over time.
You might be wary of carbs and sugars if your goal is weight loss. You may be more inclined to reach for the less calorific apple. However, fruits can facilitate weight loss due to their high nutrient content, making you fuller for longer.
TIP: Go for an especially ripe, brown banana when you can – the starches are less resistant and easier to quickly digest 30 minutes before a workout.
That’s the macronutrients covered, now a quick round-up of the micronutrients, vitamins and minerals found in these fruits. There are specific and targeted ways to improve your health and fitness goals.
Pre-workout Snack: Banana Benefits
- High potassium = supports muscle contraction.
- Easy to digest = slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
- A perfect balance of fast-acting carbs and fibre = immediate energy that lasts the whole workout.
Pre-workout Snack: Apple Advantages
- 80% water = rehydration before your workout.
- Antioxidant and vitamin C = boosts your immune system.
- A high dosage of polyphenol from apple skins = regulates blood sugar levels and reduces insulin resistance.
On Move, we offer a huge range of different workouts and fitness classes, but we do also have providers who offer nutritional advice and courses. If you're looking for specific advice on diabetes and nutrition, be sure to check out James Belbin who offers online assessments and nutritional reviews.
So, which makes a better pre-workout snack?
Bananas are undoubtedly the champion choice as they have everything you want from a pre-workout snack. They’re easy to grab before a gym session, and they digest quickly, making it a great last-minute option to provide you with quick fuel for the body to use before you exercise, not forgetting the long-term benefits of maintaining muscle function.
If you’re not hitting the gym but need an antioxidant hydration boost instead, go for an apple as a snack.
Time to put all this fruity energy to good use! Head over to Move to find a way to move your body in a way that suits you and your fitness journey. With a range of in-person, live and on-demand classes, there is a whole world of exercise out there for you to discover!