When it comes to designing the right pre-workout diet for you, it’s important to know what kind of balance you need in order to reach your fitness goals.
If your goal is to promote muscle building and lose weight, you’re going to have a different diet and workout routine compared to someone else with the goal of simply getting more toned.
You must have heard the phrase, “everything in moderation.” Whether it comes to working out, eating right, using technology or doing any activity, you are probably always pushed to balance your lifestyle and avoid doing anything in excess.
Essential Macronutrients Your Body Needs
Your body needs three essential sources of energy that fuel your body to maximize performance as you exercise. These sources of energy, also known as macronutrients, are proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Protein is the main component that promotes muscle building. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are vital to repairing and rebuilding muscles during the muscle recovery phase. Consuming lean protein pre-workout boosts performance and also enables strong muscles.
- Protein increases muscle mass gained from strength training exercises.
- Consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein before a workout can increase the muscle protein synthesis that occurs several hours even after your workout.
Foods rich in protein include:
- Salmon and tuna
- Chicken and turkey
Consuming carbs is a must for giving your body the necessary energy it needs to work out, especially when performing cardio and strength training exercises. However, it’s important to know which type of carbs will be useful for your workout.
- Simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, are short-term sources of energy. These carbs can cause a drop in energy levels before you are able to complete your workout.
- Complex carbs, such as whole-grain foods, are rich in nutrients and have lower glycemic index scores compared to simple carbohydrates. They are the healthier option as they are unlikely to cause a spike in your glucose levels.
- Consuming complex carbohydrates two to three hours before a workout will increase the energy required for you to exercise.
Foods that contain complex carbohydrates
- Whole grain pasta, bread
- Sweet potatoes
Fats are another essential nutrient that is needed for energy. While it is recommended to stick to foods that include more protein and carbs over fats, it is important to balance these fats among meals to maintain an overall healthy diet.
- Medical experts have advised against consuming fats before a workout as the body might not be able to digest these foods before you start your exercise.
- Choose foods that are low in saturated fats and avoid trans fats.
Foods with unsaturated fats
- Olive oil
Tips on Timing Your Pre-Workout Meal
While knowing what to eat pre-workout is important, knowing when to eat is important in itself. Eating at the right time can play a big role in the way you work out and can also help you avoid issues such as stomach cramps.
- It is recommended to eat a pre-workout meal that contains complex-carbohydrates at least two to three hours before your workout. Your body needs a few hours to digest and absorb nutrients.
- Smaller meals with simple carbohydrates can be consumed 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.