Working out can be the highlight of your day and provide you with the release that you need from any stresses you may have had throughout your day at work, college etc. Most people who go to the gym are trying to do one of two things, the first of these is to build muscle which is usually the case; to successfully do this you may need to change up your diet and start planning what to eat before you do your workout. The same can be said if you’re trying to lose weight, your diet can be one of the most important factors!
Choosing the correct food before your workout will give you benefits before, during and after the process. Not only will your energy levels be much higher throughout the workout but these added calories will also help muscle recovery after you’ve got home. One thing that many people forget before going to the gym is just how much energy they will be using and what effect that will have on your body, if you’ve completely exhausted yourself it will be much harder for your muscles to repair and therefore grow. Below you will find some of our recommendations on what to eat before doing a workout for the best possible results!
What makes the ideal pre-workout meal?
There are a few things to keep in mind when making your pre-workout meal. The type of food you are eating (sugars, proteins etc) is the most important factor followed by the amount of and time you ate the food.
Carbohydrates- Don’t believe the hype! (well not all of it) most people believe that they should eliminate carbs from their pre-workout meal as they will ‘burn more fat’ which in some cases is true, but that still doesn’t mean you should eliminate all of them. Carbohydrates store pockets energy in your body and are probably the bodies main source of energy. So unless you want to start sleeping at the gym then don’t pass up all the pasta! If you’re looking to have a tough workout which will push you to your limits then be sure to keep eating around 40-60 grams of carbs in your pre-workout meal.
Protein- Probably the most important factor when it comes to muscle building and recovery. Protein has been proven to increase muscle protein synthesis which is the main thing that promotes muscle growth during and after your workout. You definitely want enough proteins to get amino acids in your body and that number is anywhere between 25-40 grams. I’m sure you already know that protein is the main ingredient to building muscle and muscle recovery after your workouts so don’t be afraid to add more protein to your diet if you’re looking to gain a lot of muscle!
A bit of fat- Everybody seems to think that to be ripped you need to fully eliminate any sources of fat from your diet. This couldn’t be much further from the truth, although you shouldn’t eat a lot of it if you decide to fully eliminate fat from your diet it may help you see results quicker but could also have massively detrimental effects on your body such as a sudden crash in blood sugar, loss of energy etc.
Sodium- For a long time everybody believed little to no sodium was the way to go, we dispute this claim and would say that sodium is one of the key factors to having good workouts with a higher intensity and better results in the long run. Sodium is one of the main ingredients that helps to keep your system hydrated, which is key throughout a workout. We would recommend adding a bit of extra soy source (high in sodium) or some salty snacks such as crisps or pretzels to your diet for a hidden jab of sodium!
When should I eat my Pre-workout meal?
The time that you decide to eat your pre-workout meal is key to utilizing all of the ingredients you’ve included. To get the best results from your workout we would recommend eating your meal around 2-3 hours before and include all of the ingredients above (if possible). If you don’t have enough time to eat 2 hours or more before and have to eat within an hour of your workout then we would highly recommend eating foods that are easily digestible, otherwise, you could be causing yourself more problems such as indigestion.
Don’t forget that this works the other way round as well, if you haven’t eaten a meal for 3 hours or longer be sure to eat a snack before starting your workout. Otherwise, you could be left with no energy at all after going to the gym.
What are some of the best sources of Proteins and Carbohydrates?
Many people simply don’t know where to get high amounts of proteins or carbohydrates without excess amounts of sugar, sweeteners, fats and much more already been included in the product. Below you can find some of in our opinion the best sources of both food types…
- Most dairy products such as Eggs and Milk, certain yogurts and cheeses can even be great sources of protein. But make sure you’re not picking the options with added sugars and flavorings!
- Meat is one of the main sources of protein, Steak and Ground Beef are the highest in terms of protein content.
- Snacks, there are some snacks which have surprisingly high amounts of protein in. One which probably won’t surprise you is Beef Jerky which has an average of 13grams of protein pet 1oz serving. Although mixed nuts and Green Peas are also high in protein.
- Pasta and bread, everybody knows Pasta and bread are high in carbohydrates. But if you’re looking for the healthiest option be sure to pick the Whole Wheat pasta and bread.
- Beans, are a great source of Carbohydrates and proteins alike in fact if you ate 100 grams of pinto beans you would be eating an average of 63 grams of carbs and 21 grams of protein!
- Fruits, there are some fruits which are high in Carbs; Bananas, Cherries, Apples and Blueberries are our top picks for increasing the number of Carbs in your diet.
Choosing what food to add into your Pre-workout meal can be a rather difficult task, how much of each food type should you eat? When should I eat it? Should I cut out fat from my diet? There are lots of questions surrounding this subject and we have done our best to answer them as best we can. If there’s one piece of advice we would give it would be that you shouldn’t just change your pre-workout meal but instead try to make your whole diet to be slightly healthier, what’s the worst that could happen? Thank you for reading and feel free to check out some of out other workout tips and tricks!