If you’re one of those guys who rely on bro-science for your nutrition, you need to learn how to properly fuel your workouts.
This is the real science, for bro and all gym-goers alike.
What you eat before a workout is important because you’re preparing your body for all you plan on putting it through like running for miles or pumping some serious iron. To safely and efficiently pull off these exercises, you need to ensure that your body gets the proper fuel. Eating the wrong foods or skipping your pre-workout nutrition entirely can cause major problems and result in a far less effective workout.
Just like a vehicle, your body needs fuel to have the energy necessary to power you through a workout. If you don’t get the right fuel, your metabolism slows down to preserve the calories remaining in your body. If your body is running on empty, this can also lead to your body using your muscle as a source of energy. This can damage your metabolism, cause muscle problems and further wreak havoc on your performance by creating problems with your blood sugar.
In addition, you need to eat the right meals for three other very important reasons. The first reason is to reduce the depletion of muscle glycogen. It’s also important to reduce your cortisol levels after a workout. And, finally, you need to eat the right meals to reduce the breakdown of muscle protein.
There are a number of nutrition hacks that will help to keep your metabolism humming along, stabilize your blood sugar and ensure that your muscles are well protected and properly fueled. What follows are some of the most important factors.
You Should Never Eat Refined Sugar Before A Workout
When you get tired, grabbing a candy bar or some white bread might give you a quick burst of energy. But, you can’t maintain this energy long enough to have a solid workout. In general, when you boost your energy using refined sugar, you experience a crash approximately 30 minutes later. This is because the energy burst comes from your blood sugar being spiked. Then, after about 30 minutes, it drops significantly, leaving you tired and unable to maintain your level of stamina. Stick to slowly released energy sources instead.
What Are Some Clean Food Options To Eat Before A Workout?
You want to stick to clean foods. There are a number of clean foods that you can mix together to create a solid pre-workout meal. The following are some of the best options.
This food is relatively easy to digest, but to ensure that it’s as light as possible, use almond milk to prepare them. Oats are also full of potassium, fiber and protein, as well as the energy-boosting mineral magnesium. Aim for one-third cup as part of your pre-workout meal.
This fruit is high in B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. These are energizing nutrients that also support your heart and muscles. The fiber in bananas also helps to keep your blood sugar stable so that you have energy that you’re able to sustain over the long term.
This type of butter is considered somewhat of a super food. It contains a number of enzymes, fiber and all-important protein. These work together to fuel your body over the long term. While this butter does contain fats, they are healthy fats that could prove helpful.
This type of smoothie is full of minerals like chlorophyll, as well as vitamin C. These work together to prevent inflammation so that you experience less muscle soreness during your workout. Just make sure that you digest this smoothie before working out so that you do not feel full while exercising.
Fruit and Nut Bars
You can find a variety of organic fruit and nut bars that work well as part of a solid pre-workout meal. The fiber and carbohydrates in this type of food digest easily, ensuring sustained energy throughout your workout.
Peanut butter is protein dense and it also contains B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and fiber. You can add peanut butter to a number of things, such as bananas and oatmeal to make a supercharged pre-workout food.
If you’re trying to reduce your grain intake, this is what you want to eat before your workout. This food is rich in multiple nutrients, including protein, magnesium, B vitamins and magnesium. You can use this in the flake form to add to just about any pre-workout meal that you choose. You can even add it to something like a smoothie. Your body digests this slowly for sustained energy.
What About Timing and Using Carbohydrates for Energy?
Carbohydrates are one of the most important macronutrients for energy, but you have to use them properly to get the most benefit before your workout. While there is not a specific timing schedule to use, those who experience fatigue during a workout should consume carbs about 30 minutes before they exercise. You do not need a large amount. You simply want enough to simulate the insulin in your body so that it counteracts the cortisol to prevent muscle breakdown.
When you are eating carbohydrates, you should eat them along with protein at a ratio of 2:1 with the two being carbohydrates and the one being protein. Make sure your carbs are of the complex variety.
Simple, so you get sustained energy that lasts throughout your workout without the risk of crashing.
When To Eat A Meal And Snack Before A Workout
The following macronutrients should be included in your primary pre-workout meal: Fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Fat takes the longest to digest, followed by protein and finally carbs. Because of the digestion time, you want to include a moderate amount of carbs, a small amount of fat and a moderate amount of protein. Eat your primary meal about two to three hours priors to your workout. Doing so gives all of the nutrients the time to digest and not sit heavily on your stomach during exercise.
About 30 minutes before you start your workout, you can eat a small snack with something like fruit to get a quick blast of carbs to power you through. Most people should experiment with the timing to make sure that they are eating at intervals that allow them to have the most energy for their workout.
How Many Calories Should You Eat Before a Workout?
When it comes to the number of calories you need for your workout, this depends on you. What type of workout will you be doing? How long do you expect your workout to last?
If you’re doing a one-hour workout, you want about 200 to 300 calories as part of your pre-workout meal. In this instance, a snack of 100 calories about 30 minutes before your workout is adequate.
Nutrition For A First Thing In The Morning Workout
If your only time to work out is first thing in the morning, obviously it’s not possible to eat two to three hours in advance. In this case, you should eat about 200 calories of simple carbs, such as fruit. These will give you a jolt of energy to get started and through your workout.
If you lift weights in the morning, especially heavy weights, you should also add a sports drink with protein to ensure that you can power through. Make sure to not work out on an empty stomach because this will make it harder to get through.
What Are Your Protein, Fat And Carb Intake Needs For Training?
When it comes to fats, you want to focus on your overall macronutrient goals and determine the amount of fats that will fit into these goals. Make sure that you’re considering your target body weight and not your current body weight when you are determining your fat needs.
When it comes to protein and carbs, this should also be determined based on your target weight and not on your current weight. For example, if your target weight is 150 pounds and you currently weight 180 pounds that means your protein and carb intake needs to be based on the 150 pounds of bodyweight.
The general requirements for how much protein and carbohydrates you need per your target weight are simple. You want to eat about 0.25 grams of protein per pound. And, you’ll want the same amount of carbs in grams per target amount of weight. So, at 150 pounds, that means you want to get 37.5 grams of carbs and protein.
You Should Hydrate Your Body Before Your Workout
Most people drink water during and after a workout. Sadly, only a few people think about getting hydrated before exercising.
Before a moderate workout, you want to drink approximately 15 ounces of water over the course of one hour. For a highly intense workout, you should double this. When you go into your workout pre-hydrated, you’ll find that you’re less thirsty. The less thirsty you are, the better.
Picking Out The Right Pre-Workout Supplements
Many people use supplements before their workout to help enhance their ability to get through the workout. It can help with a laundry list of things in terms of making sure that you are getting the fitness benefits that you need. You know your specific workout needs. Now you need to find the right supplements to match these needs.
That’s where this quick guide can be most helpful. The following is a list of supplements commonly used by people who do hardcore workouts. But, don’t worry. They also work for those who need to prepare their bodies for more moderate workouts.
Your body turns this nutrient into nitric oxide, a critical component of an effective workout. You will likely want to consider getting these.
This nutrient becomes trimethylglycine, an amino acid. This works to increase your muscle strength by up to 25 percent. It can also give you up to a 10 percent increase in how many reps you can do.
Believe it or not, a little caffeine before a workout can be a good thing. This helps to reduce the risk of workout fatigue while keeping maintaining your nerve activity. It also helps to increase your alertness.
This is a popular supplement among bodybuilders because it provides quick energy to the muscles. It does this by bringing more water to your muscles to ensure energy and long-term muscle growth.
This helps to boost your muscle strength. How? Simple, by helping to form carnosine, which is an important amino acid.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
This is one of the most critical pre-workout supplements because it contains isoleucine, leucine and valine. These are three very important amino acids. Why? They work to increase energy, encourage muscle growth and blunt fatigue.
This combines malic acid and citrulline, a type of amino acid. It helps to improve recovery and delay fatigue.
This nutrient works to upgrade muscle strength and endurance by improving nitric oxide production.
When it comes to taking supplements, you should call your doctor first to ensure safety, especially if you take medications or have a medical condition. You also should talk to a professional to ensure that you are taking the right dose. Taking the right dose will help you make sure that you’re reaping the full benefits.
When you start fueling your body properly before working out, you’ll notice a distinct and positive difference in your body’s ability to perform. And, it’s really simple to maintain once you learn. It’s just a matter of eating a proper diet and taking advantage of the right supplements. If you can do that, you will be ready to perform at your best. You’ll be able to run longer and faster, pull off any flexibility exercises without frequent breaks and lift more weight for more reps. Start putting these tips into practice today and see a positive difference in your health and workouts.
By Kelly Rose
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