Goals of the Pre Workout Meal
- Maximize your workout session performance. A pre-workout meal is meant to ensure that you are at peak strength and energy levels throughout the training session.
- Provide the raw materials to assist in muscle recovery and growth for after the session. Because nutrient absorption is a gradual process, pre meal nutrients are broken down and used for absorption during and after the training session, giving you the energy and support you need to finish strong.
What to Eat?
Your pre workout meal does not need to be anything that is overly complicated or intricate. The best formula for a pre meal workout is to combine a high quality protein with a carbohydrate. Protein is a vital macronutrient that provides the amino acids necessary for muscle recovery and growth. Carbohydrates are key to providing energy for both your brain and your muscles. Together they provide the foundation for a safe and efficient workout. The best proteins are whey protein, which is light on the stomach, or lean chicken, fish, and red meat. The best carbohydrates are 20-30 grams of foods like fruit, pasta, oatmeal, and rice. It is important to remember that whatever foods you pick should be low on fats, which can slow down the movement of your food, and make you sluggish and feel bloated during your workout. Many people fast before a workout, but I have found that this is generally not the most effective strategy for most people. Without a pre workout meal, you do not achieve your body’s maximum performance ability. A pre workout meal can also ward off unwanted muscle loss, and increase your post workout fat burning ability. If you prefer fasting, I would recommend at least taking at least 10 grams or more of a BCAA supplement before your training sessions.
When to Eat?
When to eat is really a personal preference for whatever makes you feel the strongest, most energetic, and provides you with the most stomach comfort during your workout. Most people tend to prefer eating around 1.5 to 2 hours before their training session to minimize bloating and nausea. Intense training can cause blood flow to divert away from the stomach to your muscles, which leaves any undigested food to sit in your stomach, which can affect your performance.
It is best to eat a combination of a high quality protein and a carbohydrate with a minimal fat content at about 1.5 to 2 hours before your training session to properly fuel and protect your body. This, along with a proper diet and exercise will help in ensuring muscle growth and fat loss.