When we start training, we begin to understand that food is important for performance, to achieve changes such as muscle growth, fat loss, and to stay healthy. The benefits of proper nutrition for sports goals are innumerable, and pre-workout nutrition is the first pillar.
You need to fuel up before a hard workout, as training on an empty stomach or doing fasted cardio is not something that works for everybody. The pre-workout meal should be taken at least an hour before your workout, and its purpose is to offer slow assimilation substrates, like complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats so you have sustained energy during exercise.
There are some types of food that constitute the perfect pre-workout meals, proteins are one of them. It is one of the many nutrients we need to achieve total development of muscle tissue and fibers, as well as muscle recovery after a long, challenging workout.
It is a good idea to have protein intake one hour before workouts for better muscle preparation. Giving the body enough time to assimilate amino acids, ensuring optimal protein synthesis. Consequently, there will be greater performance and delayed muscle fatigue.
One of the best pre-workout foods that you can find is eggs. They have all the amino acids. A hard-boiled egg is a fast option. You can also use protein shakes with low-fat milk for an extra dose of protein if you’d like to. Chicken, fish, turkey, greek yogurt, and cheese. All of them are good options to build lean muscle mass. If you are in a serious hurry, a protein bar can also do the trick!
What to eat before a workout? Carbs. They are absolutely necessary for energy levels in a workout routine. Before training, carb consumption will safeguard glycogen stores while storing more usable energy, reducing the cortisol response to training and improving protein uptake by muscles during training.
Since they have shorter chains of molecules, we can say they are easy-to-digest carbs. Among them, we have the natural sugar found in dried fruit and fruit smoothies. When you eat a simple carbs meal, it causes a spike in blood sugar levels, giving you more energy and helping you to push harder during workouts. They are on top of the best pre-workout meals.
Complex carbohydrates have a structure composed of three or more natural sugars. Most of them contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. On the other hand, and due to their complexity, they take longer to be converted into glucose and assimilated by the body. Because of this, they are a good source of energy.
Simple carbs give a quick boost of energy, while complex carbs provide energy in a more extended and consistent period of time. They also promote a healthier digestive system. You can find them in normal and brown rice, sweet potato, whole-wheat toast, whole grains, and so on.
Healthy fats are part of the nutritious foods you need for working out. Nuts are a good source of nutrients, as they have a lot of potassium which contributes to muscle contraction and the development of muscle cell growth. Peanut butter has a lot of protein, fat, and also carb, so it is a good pre-workout meal.
If you are not a fan of nut butter, a small handful of peanuts, cashews, almonds or any nut you like will be more than enough. In fact, you should take them as a small snack since eating a lot of fat before exercise might make you feel sluggish and you can find other alternatives.
Benefits Of Taking Pre-Workout Food
Eating before a workout prevents muscle catabolism because the body won’t run out of glycogen reserves that are so necessary for energy. If it is depleted of glycogen and there isn’t any source to replenish it, the body will use muscle tissue for energy instead.
Protein intake promotes an anabolic environment in the body that aids with muscle development, so add a protein shake every here and there!
Tips For Better Performance
There are various types of foods to eat before a workout. Many believe that simple carbs are obtained from processed foods, and while it is true that they produce the same sugar spike for an energy boost, nutritionally they have nothing to contribute, so they are not an entirely appropriate contribution to your fitness goals.
Every cell and organ in the body needs water to perform its functions, but while exercising, good hydration allows for constant contraction and relaxation of muscle fibers, as well as moisturizing the mucous membranes in the lungs and lubricating the joints.
Asides from the many things explained above, timing your meals can help with regular digestion, thus avoiding an upset stomach. Post-workout nutrition is another fitness pillar. After finishing a high-intensity workout, the body starts to repair muscle damage and replenish glycogen, so eating protein, fat, and carbs facilitates this process. You can use the small meal approach if you don’t feel comfortable eating large meals.
In many Health Canal publications, they suggest adding dietary supplements to your pre-workout meal since it can give you many wonderful benefits. These supplements are designed to enhance your strength, efficiency, and endurance during exercise, so, along with sports nutrition, they are an important part of any fitness routine.
Meals before and after training have a big impact on your performance and recovery. It is not good to limit yourself to just one food group, as combining all macronutrients results in energy being staggered throughout the duration of your training session. You can customize and combine your amounts according to your goals.