If you could have just 2 meals for a day, it should definitely be your pre workout and post workout meals. Fuelling your body effectively before a workout ensures you have the energy for maximal performance while providing your body with the essential nutrients after a workout optimises recovery and builds muscle. Both of these meals are vital for muscle building and fat loss.
Understanding the process
During a workout, your body converts glycogen into glucose which is used as the primary source of fuel. By having adequate nutrition before a workout, muscle glycogen depletion can therefore be avoided. While protein is important to repair muscle damage and boost recovery, the most effective nutrient to consume before a workout is carbohydrates. This is because carbs are way more efficient in the way they use oxygen giving it the ability to digest faster and produce energy quicker than proteins and fats. Protein is mainly used to promote recovery through muscle protein synthesis and prevent muscular damage. Despite being an important source of fuel for the body, fats slow down digestion and therefore should not be given priority before your workout
What and when?
What to eat and when to eat depends on the type of training performed, duration, time of the day and individual preferences. The best way to figure it out is by trying certain types of foods and reviewing how you respond to them based on your energy levels, mood and performance.
- If you’re training early in the morning, the previous night’s meal is important and should include all the necessary nutrients. In the morning, consume a high GI snack( Fast digesting) followed with a cup of black coffee.
- If you’re training in the afternoon or late evening, a well good pre workout meal from any of the choices below is sufficient. However, if your training sessions are long and intense, you should consider a high GI snack 30–60 minutes prior to your workout as well.
Another vital factor that can’t be neglected before your workout is hydration. Hydration needs depends on the individual’s goals and lifestyle. Therefore, proper hydration should be maintained throughout the day.
Personally, I have tried many different options to figure out the best combination that has worked for me which I have shared in the table shown below. Usually carbohydrate rich whole foods will contain adequate protein for resistance training as well.
- Carbs→ Fuel
- Protein→ Build and repair
- Fats→ Not too important
- Timing is crucial
- Hydration is important
- Figure out what food you respond to best.
What are your go to pre workout meals or snacks?