Do you eat before hitting the gym or do you prefer fasted workouts? It depends on my mood, in my case, and also the nature of workout I am about to hit, I wouldn’t go into leg day without a proper meal first.
Whether you are a Web Developer or a fitness model – probably with different goals – you will need the right before and after a workout to see the results of all your efforts.
Why is a Pre-workout Meal Important?
Good nutrition not only influences your recovery, but it also determines your performance. Try working the lower body without the right amount of fuel and you will find it hard doing a set of easy leg presses.
Each macronutrient has its purpose in the body and everyone working out should eat all the three food groups, but the amounts vary depending on size and goals.
Carbs for Energy
Glucose is converted to glycogen, the body’s sole source of energy. It is broken down during workouts to supply energy to the body and keep you fueled up as you go hard. It has been noted that workouts varying in intensity – will deplete the body’s glycogen stores and result in diminishing energy. Body builders do carb-loading –essentially eating lots of carbs for seven days – to promote the storage of glycogen in the muscles.
Proteins for Body Building
Studies have shown that consumption of proteins before a workout boosts muscle protein synthesis and decreases the wastage of muscles during workouts. Protein consumption has also been seen to promote athletic performance as well as promote the growth of new muscles. It also increase muscle performance especially when you work them out in isolation.
Fats for Good
Afraid of healthy fats that you get from nuts and avocado? You shouldn’t as they are good for the body too. Where glycogen provides the energy for intense workouts, fats have you covered when it comes to longer workouts.
Does it matter when you eat? Well, studies show you should ideally eat 2 to 3 hours before a workout to give the body enough time to digest it. If that is not possible, you want to reduce the portions of your meal to –again – give the body enough time to process it. You may want to keep it lighter too and so a simple shake with all the three food groups would suffice.
Simple Meal Ideas
- Protein Pancakes
Egg whites, a banana, rolled oats, and cottage cheese will not only make great tasting pancakes, but they will also pack a punch in the protein department.
- Protein Oats
You are in a hurry but still need a pre-workout meal before you leave. Rolled oats, a scoop or two whey protein, and a banana will make the ideal shake. Blend with water or skim milk and if you feel inclined, add a dash of cinnamon.
- Egg and Veggie
Three egg whites and one whole egg mixed with red peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and onions are great for breakfast before hitting the gym.
Whatever you eat, ensure that your carbs are complex and not processed.