Food is the fuel on which the entire body runs. Yes, the same can also be said about water but eating the right food and staying hydrated enough will give you the maximum health benefits.
Fitness enthusiasts and athletes are always in search to improve their performance and achieve higher goals. Good nutrition will help your body perform better and recover faster post-workout.
And in the same way, the intake of the right nutrients before a workout, minimizes the chances of muscle damage as well as maximize performance.
Now there are also some myths associated with pre and post-workout meals. Dr Eric Berg has explained them in a 5 minutes video below:
Pre-workout nutrition is important. Those meals will charge your body to perform its best in the upcoming workout.
Understanding What to Eat Is Important
Right nutrients before exercise will give you strength and energy for better performance.
Macronutrients are important. The ratio in which they are needed to be consumed varies by the type of exercise and the individual consuming them.
Below is a short look at the importance of each macronutrient.
Muscles use glucose from carbs for fuel. And the body processes and stores that glucose as Glycogen, mostly in the liver and muscles. For a short high-intensity exercise, glycogen stores are the muscles’ most important source of energy. But they are limited in your muscles and become depleted resulting in output and intensity diminish.
Studies show that carbs can increase glycogen stores while increasing carb oxidation in exercise. Carb loading, which is a high-carb diet for 1–7 days, is a good way to increase glycogen stores.
Proteins increase muscle protein synthesis. Eating proteins before or after a workout has the following benefits :
- Improved muscle recovery
- Better muscle performance
- Improvement in strength and lean body mass
- Better anabolic response/muscle growth
When to eat before a workout?
2-3 hours before a workout is the recommended time. To maximize the results, eat a full meal containing carbs, proteins and fat 2–3 hours before exercise. Keep in mind that the sooner you eat before a workout, the simpler and easily digestible the meal should be.
This will help prevent stomach discomfort during a workout.
Examples of a pre-workout meal
The type, duration and intensity of the workout decide which foods to eat and in what quantity. A good way to go is to eat a combination of carbs and proteins before heading for exercise.
If you are eating fats in the pre-workout meal, make sure it must be consumed a few hours before the workout. Some examples of pre-workout meals are:
- A protein smoothie made with milk, some protein powder, a banana and mixed berries
- Milk and Grain cereal
- A good cup of oatmeal topped with sliced almonds and banana
- Almond butter (natural, if in access) and fruit preserve sandwich on a whole-grain bread
If Workout is starting in an Hour or Less
- Fruit and Greek yoghurt
- A nutrition bar with wholesome ingredients and protein
- Fruit, such as a banana, apple or orange
Just choose one of these, you don’t need to eat many workout meals prior to workout. Supplements can also be used before a workout. Some of the pre-workout supplements are:
This is the most commonly used sports supplement. You can buy Unflavoured Keto-Friendly Creatine here. It increases muscle mass, muscle strength and power, muscle fibre size, and delays fatigue.
After the workout, it is even more effective. 2–5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day is recommended intake.
Caffeine improves performance, increases power and strength, reduces the feeling of fatigue and stimulates fat burning. It can be consumed in coffee, tea and energy drinks.
How you consume it, doesn’t matter, because performance is the same. There are many other supplements like Branched-Chain Amino Acids, Beta-Alanine and Multi-Ingredient
The body needs water to function and dehydration will always decrease performance. Consuming water and sodium before the workout will improve fluid balance.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking 0.5–0.6 litres of water at least
four hours before exercise and 0.23–0.35 litres of water 10–15 minutes before exercise.