Am I eating the right foods before training?
Why is pre-workout nutrition so important?
In this guide you will find out how to optimise performance via your pre training meal.
Pre-workout nutrition is an important factor that contributes greatly towards optimal performance. Specific food choices could mean the difference between feeling great in the gym and being left feeling somewhat disappointed with our efforts.
The food stuffs you ingest within close proximity to your training session should be monitored carefully in order to achieve optimal performance.
Let’s takes your pre-workout nutrition seriously! In this guide, we will split the three main macronutrients and decipher what is essential in terms of pre-workout nutrition.
Let’s firstly look at protein, taking into account the rate at which our bodies are able to digest and absorb nutrients from food stuffs, research shows that consuming an amount of protein (20-40grams) 2 hours before training would have a positive effect on the muscle building process.
I would recommend that consuming a ‘fast digesting’ form of protein in your pre-workout meal and one that is high in the amino acid ‘leucine’ contributing in the quickest short term muscle growth stimulation. Why a fast acting form of protein you may ask? Well, prior to training, we must ensure that our body is primed and ready for exercise, making sure our blood is rich with amino acids to support growth and recovery as quickly as possible.
One of the fastest digesting whole foods is Egg Whites, next to no fat and containing below 1% carbohydrates, I’m not saying that carbohydrates are bad, they are not! It’s just I will cover them in more detail later in the guide. Egg whites make the ideal pre workout protein source, also having the highest biological value, meaning that its nutrients are more readily utilised by the body.
Fast acting hydrolysed whey protein powders are also a great option. They are so quick and convenient to use, just add a couple of scoops into your shaker cup with water and you have all the fast acting whey isolates you’d need! The Whey Isolate by PhD Nutrition is an ideal choice that utilises top quality ingredients and comes in a variety of different flavours.
Now here is where we have to be careful, fat is another macronutrient that should be taken into consideration with regards to your pre workout meal. Fat has many beneficial factors, however should be kept below 15 grams as this slows down overall digestion by inhibiting gastric emptying, the body’s ability to eject the stomach’s contents which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve pre-workout.
The majority of your fat calories should come from within the protein and carbohydrate sources you choose for your pre-workout meal, I recommended that you steer clear from excess fats to our pre-workout meal. This includes avoiding using cooking oils and butters.
Having said this, a great way to cook your protein & carbohydrates without the use of frying oils is to oven bake them. Simply wrap your food in tin foil, place on a baking tray and bung it in the oven (this also reduces the amount of washing up and cooking smells!).
Time for my personal favourite… CARBS! Your main source of energy comes from carbohydrates; the choices you make in relation to pre-workout nutrition ultimately determine your energy levels during your workouts.
As a rule, you want to aim to consume carbohydrate sources that do not take too long to digest, coupled with your fast digesting protein source; I recommended that you consume an equally fast digesting carb source would be ideal.
For example, white rice and potatoes are ideal carb choices, low in fat and relatively fast digesting, they are a great way of storing fuel into the muscles as glycogen ready for use during training.
Pre-workout nutrition is just as, if not more important than post-workout nutrition, setting the scene for growth and recovery. It is of vital importance to take what you ingest seriously as it could have major effects on your mood and wellbeing during training, I recommend taking this nutritional advice into consideration when preparing your pre training meal.