What is the best pre-workout meal to keep you energized and help you avoid the dreaded “wall”? An ideal pre-workout meal consists of two kinds of carbohydrates and also minimizing fat and protein especially 1-2 hours prior to your workout. Take your workouts to a new level by eating the right kinds of foods at the right times. Follow these simple rules to create a pre-workout meal designed to fuel your body for maximum performance.
Carbohydrates are the fuel that your body needs to sustain any workout. The closer you get to your workout, the more important your food intake is. If you eat too much, you risk bloating, cramping, and nausea. If you fail to eat enough carbs you risk losing energy. Mixing simple and complex carbs is the best way to ensure steady and long-lasting energy.
Simple Carbs include: Juice, Sports Drinks, Pasta, White Bread, Pretzels, Cereals.
Complex Carbs include: Most Fruit/Vegetables, Whole Grains (Barley, Buckwheat, Oatmeal), Whole Grain Breads.
Protein plays an important part of a pre-workout meal. The right amount of protein at the right time will help replenish your muscles (A process called protein synthesis). During a hard workout your body actually breaks down muscle tissue and craves protein in the form of amino acids to help build stronger, healthier muscle. Eating 8-10 ounces of lean protein 3-6 hours prior to workout can boost protein synthesis. Always include some simple and complex carbs with your protein to assist protein synthesis by releasing insulin.
Good Sources Of Protein: Salmon, chicken, nuts, seeds, legumes
Fats take the longest to digest. Fat intake should be minimized 3-6 hours before any physical exertion, and practically eliminated the last 2 hours before your workout. Plant based fats are usually easier to digest and cause less discomfort than animal fats.
Healthy Fats Include: Nuts, avocados, salmon, tuna, olive oil, coconut oil
3-6 Hours Before Exercise
3-6 hours before exercise you should consume around 500 calories of mostly complex carbs with some lean protein and little to no fat. A light, balanced meal that consists of vegetables and whole grains is ideal. Avoid any high fiber foods like beans to avoid bloating. A salad is always a good choice for a pre-workout meal with leafy greens and fresh vegetables with a side of whole grain bread.
1-2 Hours Before Exercise
1-2 hours before exercise try to stick with a mixture of simple and complex carbs. Some fruit and a sports drink is a good choice. Bananas are surprisingly easy to digest and can be consumed right up to a few minutes before a hard workout. Avoid any high acid fruit like citrus or tangy berries.