Workout Nutrition 101

March 25, 2008

Pre Workout Meal

It’s very important to eat the right foods in the right amount before a workout because it can make or break how effective your workout is. For example, if you eat too much before your workout, you may feel sluggish and fatigued because your body is using all of your energy to digest the food. If you eat too little before a workout, you may feel weak and light headed because you have no nutrients to fuel your workout. For anyone who is trying to make maximum muscle gains, the pre workout meal is one of the most important meals of the day.

Now you may be thinking, “So how long before a tough workout should I eat?” Well what a coincidence; I have the answer for you right here! Like I stressed before, timing is everything. Many bodybuilders will skip their workout all together if they cannot find time to eat before a workout! Consuming food before a workout restores your body’s glycogen stores (which gives you energy). Working out hungry doesn’t just cause weakness. When you work out, your body burn fat. Duh. Everyone knows that. However, if there isn’t any food in your body to burn, your body will look to another source of energy to burn: amino acids (protein). This is bad because you need protein to build your muscles after a hard workout, and if your body is using protein as a source of energy to burn, then you are stunting your muscle growth potential. You should eat a small meal about 2-3 hours before a workout. If you eat a gigantic meal filled with lots of fats and carbohydrates, then it is best to wait around 4-6 hours before your workout. Some people also stress taking supplements 30-45 minutes before a workout, but that’s entirely up to you.

Now you must be wondering, “So what foods are best to eat in my pre workout meal?” Wow, you wonder alot! It’s okay. I’ve been doing this for a while. I was in your shoes once. There are two things you must consume in your pre workout meal: protein and carbohydrates First off, you need protein. Since protein builds muscle, this is a no brainer. Consume about 20-30 grams of protein in your pre workout meal. Some high quality sources of protein include chicken, turkey, tuna fish, salmon, eggs, cheese, milk, soymilk, tofu, and the list goes on and on. Those are just a few examples. Next, you are going to need complex carbohydrates. Carbs are going to be your main source of fuel to get you through your grueling workout! Good sources of carbohydrates before a workout are vegetables, fruit, oats, yams, lentils, whole grain breads, and potatoes. Again, that is only a few examples and you should customize your diet to fit you best. Lastly, fat consumption should be left to a minimum. The only fats you need to consume in your pre workout meal are trace fats (fat that is already in your protein and carbohydrate sources). You don’t want to consume too much fat before a workout because it will slow down food absorption. That’s bad because you want the food to digest as quickly as possible so it can go directly to your muscles for energy. It is hard to estimate exactly how much to eat in your pre workout meal. You should eat enough to sustain adequate energy throughout your workout, but you don’t want to eat so much to where you feel fat and sluggish.

So there you have it. That is a brief overview on what to think about when preparing your pre workout meal. Like I said before, you should customize that meal to fit the needs of your diet and schedule. Good luck in achieving your nutritional goals! If you have any questions or comments please don’t be afraid to ask. Your feedback is very important to me!

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