When it comes to pre- workout snacks, what you have should largely depend on the time you have before your workout. So if you’re organised and are ready to eat 2-3 hours before your workout then you could ingest a nice protein source, some moderate to slow GI (moderately fast releasing) carbs and a healthy fat source. A great example would be the classic, grilled chicken, brown rice and broccoli with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce diluted down with 50 ml of boiling water (make a little go a long way). For an ideal desert, try chopping an apple up and eating it with a tablespoon of nut butter, the protein and fat in the nut butter reduces the GI (speed of absorption) of the apple making it a more sustainable energy source to fuel your session!
If you literally have 30-40mins before your gym session and you aren’t relishing the thought of training on an empty stomach (although many of you do), then place less emphasis on protein and more on carbs…ideally a mix of quick release and moderate release. Good examples include:
- Couple of handfuls of dried fruit
Granted, these fructose packed powerhouses will deliver a rapid source of energy to fuel you, but they will give you little in the way of protein and amino acids. Your protein intake is another integral part of maximising training, growth and development, but there are several factors to consider when it comes to its consumption before exercise.
The chemical structure of protein means it’s a little harder for the body to break down, digest and absorb, and whole food sources of protein such as meat, fish and eggs means protein may not be absorbed in time to benefit your training. Eating meat or fish within an hour before training will only serve to divert blood to your stomach, this preferential shift will deprive your muscles of much needed blood and thus energy. In order to maximise your nutritional intake and your bodies ability to use protein in the hour building up to training you should try to consume a Branched Chain Amino (BCAA) supplement. The semi-digested protein means it is absorbed much quicker than consequently ingesting
Don’t fill yourself up
As tempting as it might be for some, filling yourself up with protein and fat rich, high calorie foods before a gym session will do little for your session because of the time it takes to digest. In fact, filling yourself up will most likely hinder your session because of the same shift of blood to the stomach (as described above) which can leave you feeling full and sluggish. So small amounts of quick release carbs are optimal for your pre-workout session, but for maximal benefit and muscular development try adding some liquid protein, this will deliver the key amino acids and not bloat you out!
To get around this bloating and associated lethargy, try a supplement. So around 30-40mins before your gym session get a Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) supplement down you.
Optimal snacks for an energised and muscle building session… DONE!