Whether you train first thing in the morning or last thing at night, fueling your body with the right nutrition is so important for an effective workout! Many of us tend to focus more on what we eat after our workouts, but a nutritious pre-workout meal is just as important in order to have the best workout possible, thus the best results.
Think of it like this - our bodies need fuel in the exact same way that a car does. You wouldn’t attempt to do a long road trip on half a tank of gas, you would run out before you even reach your destination! The same goes for your body. You can’t do a long, intense workout on an empty stomach or you’ll simply run out of energy. Plus, over a long period of time, the likelihood of becoming ill or injured will be increased if you don’t eat the right pre-workout foods.
The bottom line here is that in order to get the most out of your workouts, improve your performance and prevent future injuries, pre-workout nutrition is KEY.
What to Eat
In every meal, you need to consider the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fats, and also the quantities in which you are eating them.
Many studies have shown that consuming at least 20g protein before a workout results in better muscle strength, performance and growth. It also increases muscle protein synthesis (where protein is produced to repair muscle damage caused by exercise) which in turn, saves our muscles from breakdown and helps them recover faster. In other words, if you don’t want to be sore for days after an intense leg session, get your protein in beforehand! Check out our range of delicious flavors here containing all the protein you need to fuel your body right.
Let’s just make one thing clear, carbs are NOT the enemy. When it comes to dieting, many people tend to limit or cut out carbs completely, however carbs are actually essential for supplying your body with the long-lasting energy it needs for a workout. White bread, white rice, fruit and sweet potatoes are all fast and easily digestible carbs making them an ideal pre-workout food. However, if you have a sensitive stomach it’s best to choose a super small digestible carb such as a banana along with a scoop of protein, because there’s nothing worse than that horrible heartburn feeling you get if you’ve eaten too big and too soon before a workout!
Fat is a macronutrient which slows digestion, so it’s best to keep fat intake to a minimum before working out as we want all the nutrients to be digested as fast as possible, ready to give us the fuel we need for an awesome workout!
When To Eat
It can be difficult to know when to eat your pre-workout meal as the last thing you want is to arrive at the gym feeling bloated and full! It all depends on the size of your pre-workout meal and when you want to work out. Basically, the sooner you eat before your workout, the smaller and simpler the meal should be.
As a general guideline:
30 Minutes to an hour pre-workout: eat light meals and foods which contain simple carbohydrates and some protein
2-3 hours pre-workout: eat larger meals containing a good source of protein (around 20g) and complex carbohydrates (around 20-30g)
For example, if you like to work out in the morning you could have a small snack such as a banana and protein shake or greek yoghurt and fruit, which you would only need around 30 minutes for it to digest. On the other hand, if you tend to work out later in the day after a bigger meal such as (the classic) chicken, rice and vegetables, eating 2-3 hours beforehand is ideal so that you don’t feel too sluggish!
Supplements Can Be Beneficial Too
Pre-workouts can be very beneficial when it comes to higher-intensity training such as weightlifting as they have been shown to provide a boost of energy, endurance and motivation to get through the most intense workouts. At IdealFit, we keep our Pre-Workout low in calories and offer you absolutely amazing taste without any added sugars or unnecessary fillers!
Research has shown that taking BCAAs before your workout can increase muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle damage and soreness, therefore they’re a great supplement to add into your pre-routine to improve muscle recovery.
Probiotics are a great supplement to add into your daily routine to speed up healthy digestion. Check out our nighttime Probitoic here which works best at night to improve your gut health and digestion while you sleep!
Drink Your Water!
Studies have shown that hydrating your body before a workout can actually sustain and improve performance, and guess what? Dehydration has the opposite effect. That’s why it’s important to drink lots of water before, after and during your workout!