Athletes know that a pre-workout meal is one of the best and easiest ways to maximize any workout. After all, your body will perform better and recover faster if you eat well before and after you work out.
Nutritional intake prior to exercise will not only help you maximize your performance, it will also help you minimize muscle damage and keep your body healthy.
Nutrients play a vital role in the body’s ability to process energy efficiently. Without the proper nutrients, the body can’t properly use the food we eat to power us throughout the day. As a result, the body can end up wasting precious energy that could be put to better use if it was consumed before exercise.
Nutrition is the science of food and its relationship with our bodies and health. Understanding nutrition means learning about the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed by our body to maintain good health.
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about pre-workout nutrition.
What To Eat Before A Work Out
The best approach to eating prior to a workout, particularly for weight lifting, is to focus on eating an adequate amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat for that particular workout. This will provide the energy required for weight lifting as well as allowing you to recover properly post-workout.
Carbohydrates: Should you eat carbs before or after workout? Yes, because when you eat carbs, your muscles use the glucose in them as fuel.
When the body gets and stores glucose, it does so mostly in the liver and muscles. Glycogen stores are the main source of energy for short- and high-intensity exercise, so you need to keep them full.
But for longer workouts, the amount of carbs used varies based on a number of factors. The intensity, type of training, and your overall diet all play a role. Your muscles’ glycogen stores are running low. As these stores run out, your output and intensity go down.
Studies have shown over and over again that carbs can help you store more glycogen and use it during exercise, and they can also help you burn more carbs. Carb loading, which is when you eat a lot of carbs for 1–7 days, is a common way to get more glycogen in your body.
Proteins: Many studies have shown that eating a lot of protein before a workout can help you do better at sports.
Before you work out, you should eat protein, either alone or with carbs. This has been shown to help your muscles make more protein. One study found that people who ate 20 grams of whey protein before working out had a positive anabolic response.
Other benefits of eating protein before working out are a better anabolic response, which means more muscle growth, improved recovery of muscle, and increased muscle strength.
Fat: Some studies have looked into how fat intake affects how well you can be an athlete. However, these studies looked at people who ate a lot of fat for a long time, not before they did any exercise. For example, one study found that a diet of 40% fat for four weeks made endurance running times faster in healthy, well-trained runners.
Carbs help your body store as much glycogen as possible for high-intensity exercise, but fat helps your body run for a longer, less intense amount of time. Protein, on the other hand, improves muscle protein synthesis and helps with recovery.
Best Pre and Post Workout Supplements
There are several different kinds of supplements that you can add to your pre-workout shake. Some include: caffeine, creatine, and even protein powders. But you may also want to consider using ingredients like vitamins, amino acids, and other micronutrients.
- Caffeine — associated with an energy boost and increased focus.
- Collagen — good for skin and bone health, and it is often sold as a supplement. Nitrate has been shown to be good for improving exercise performance and response.
- Creatine — good for people who do a lot of intense exercise with weights. It makes muscles stronger and helps them last longer.
- L-Citrulline — this is an important amino acid that is important for muscle performance and repair.
Supplements play a big role in helping us lose weight and build muscle, but it’s not an easy process. Some people will benefit from a high-carb diet, while others can tolerate low carb diets better. The right balance of supplements and macronutrients is an important element to consider.
Timing of Pre-Workout Meal
When you eat your pre-workout meal can be just as important as what you eat. In fact, the timing of your meal can also impact the effectiveness of your workout.
You don’t have to sacrifice calories in order to get in a great workout. In fact, you don’t even need to eat any pre-workout food. Instead, take the time to prepare a nutritious breakfast, which is more than enough fuel for your workout. However, if you do eat pre-workout food, then your best option is to stick with a healthy protein shake. A smoothie can also be a great way to get in some healthy carbs. But be sure that your shake contains no artificial ingredients or added sweeteners.
If you’re preparing to exercise, it’s best to eat about half an hour before you start so that your body has time to process the food and get its fuel reserves ready for the workout. Make sure to choose high-carbohydrate foods that are easy to digest, such as white bread, pasta, cereal and potatoes.
A typical meal plan for a week of physical activity consists of three to four meals a day of 500 kcal to 600 kcal. Most people should be able to eat this way for most of the day.
Post Workout Meal
After a long workout your body needs to replenish the nutrients that were used to fuel that strenuous activity. By following a post-workout meal plan, you can make sure that you replenish your glycogen stores before going back out for another session.
After a competition or a workout, eat some carbohydrates and protein to help your muscles get replenished. With enough energy to go around, your muscles will have the materials to rebuild and repair themselves so you can keep on training. We recommend a post-workout smoothie (or post-workout smoothie made with low-fat milk and fruit) for this purpose.
Turkey, veggies, or low-fat yogurt with berries can offer you a good amount of carbsand protein. They’re also a healthy and nutritious meal option for breakfast.
Don’t Forget To Rehydrate
In order to replace fluids lost during exercise, gradually drink about 16-24 fluid ounces for every pound lost. You can use sports drinks or recover beverages as well as water.
When it comes to drinking fluids after workouts, it’s a good idea to drink enough water. However, it’s also important to keep sodium levels in the body healthy so that the body can better retain water. That means avoiding sodas and other drinks that contain high sodium concentrations.
When it comes to pre workout nutrition, there are no absolutes in the diet world. Everyone has their own preferred eating habits, and each person must find a plan that works best for him or her. There are certain things, however, that we can all do to optimize our performance and make the most of our workout routines.
It’s important to keep in mind that what you eat is always context specific. What your body needs at the time and your activity level should always take priority in your eating schedule. If you’re a marathoner, don’t forget about nutrition while you’re training.
Times of the year when you train will also dictate your need for different kinds of nutrients. A bodybuilder who works out at the gym for a long stretch each week might require a different plan when he begins dieting for a competition. For most of us, the best pre- and post-training meal will include high quality protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and some fruits and vegetables.