Fitness enthusiasts like Bradley Martyn and Dana Linn Bailey have always emphasized on the importance of pre-workout meal before extensive strength training and workouts.
Good nutrition is essential for body to recover fully after workout and strength training sessions. Our ultimate goal is to minimize muscle damage and maximize our performance.
Lets deep dive in to find more about the pre-workout nutrition.
What to Eat Before Workout?
Each macronutrient plays an important role before extensive workouts. But the macros diet varies for each individual and workout exercise.
Muscles require glycogen from foods high in carbs for fuel. This glycogen get stored in liver and muscles. When we perform strength training and intense workout sessions our body needs energy which we get from these glycogen stores. But glycogen stores stored inside our body are limited and get depleted during high intensity sessions which results in reduced output and increased fatigue.
Intake of carbs in the form of foods or shakes is highly needed to increase glycogen stores and help our body to perform optimally during these high-intensity workout sessions.
Proteins in proper amounts are required for muscle toning and muscle synthesis. Including proteins in your pre-workout meal can improve your body’s anabolic response and athletic performance during exercise.
In short protein helps in muscle recovery, increased strength and lean body mass as well as increased muscle performance.
Fats is essential part of the pre-workout meal because it helps to fuel our body for longer during moderate to low exercise sessions. One case study showed that performance of an athlete increased drastically when he took diet consisting of 40% fat before exercise.
Now, we jump straight off to the complete pre-workout food/diet to follow!
1) Whole Grain Toast,Almond or Peanut Butter – A pre-workout meal must include foods to maintain electrolyte balance in our body which is lost through sweat. Banana is a rich source of potassium which will provide instant energy and prevent muscle cramps during thec workout.Peanut and almond butter have healthy fats and whole grain toast is useful for providing a boost in complex-carbs to our body.
2) Chicken Thighs,Rice and Steamed Vegetables – A must include in your pre-workout food.A mix of protein and complex carbs.Rice and steamed vegetables high in carbs along with chicken thighs which will provide necessary macros is all that we need before that workout session.
3) Oatmeal,Protein Powder and Blueberries – Sustained energy is required during the intense workout for which a bowl full of oatmeal can prove to be handy.Protein powder is designed specifically to provide our body with the required protein which consists of a mix of slow and fast digesting protein which are required for muscle synthesis and muscle toning. Antioxidants found in blueberries is beneficial to include but not mandatory.
4) Scrambled eggs,Veggies and Avocado – According to strength trainers like bradley martyn and Dana lynn bailey it is a must to include eggs in the pre-workout meal,they are a source of high quality protein as well as contain all the essential amino acids.Avocados as we all know are powerhouse of nutrients and veggies provide the fibre.
5) Protein Smoothie – Add some berries,yogurt or customize according to your taste, but do include it as well they will provide you with a spurt in complex carbs and protein for muscle recovery and muscle toning.
Pre-Workout Meal – When to take?
Pre-exercise nutrition is fruitful only when the timing is correct. We should consume our pre-workout macros diet containing fats,carbs and proteins 2-3 hours before the workout regimen.
In case you are not able to eat 2-3 hours before then choose the foods which are easy to digest as it might take some time to show effects.
Conclusion- It is recommended to consume pre-workout meal 2-3 hours before the workout but if you plan to take your meal 45-60 minutes before then try to take smaller portions of the pre-workout macros diet.
Importance of Hydration
Often people focus on pre-workout meals but tend to forgot the importance of water in their workout session. One can only expect an increase in performance and output when body is properly hydrated before exercise sessions. Also it might be possible that you may observe a dip in your energy levels and increased fatigue due to poor fluid intake.
Drinking sufficient water before workout helps in muscle recovery and maintains the body temperature during intense workouts. Thus not drinking sufficient water before could reduce your stamina and energy levels, regardless of whatever you have eaten.
Ideally one should drink 0.5-0.6 liters of water 4 hours before exercise before workout and 0.2-0.3 liters of water 10-15 minutes before workouts.