As you go about designing your diet plan, make sure that you are eating right before a workout session. Otherwise you will not perform as well during that workout and will not recovery as quickly.
The primary time when you want to fuel your body is in the hours before you’ll be exerting extra energy. Do not overlook these pre-workout considerations when evaluating your nutritional needs.
• Keep fat intake low. Eating too much fat before a workout session will cause you to feel slow and sluggish. Your fat intake should be kept to less than 5 grams for this meal.
• Avoid too much fruit. While fruit is healthy in general, when it’s eaten pre-workout, it can cause digestive distress.
• Support your muscles with protein. Before a workout, consume at least 10 grams of lean proteins.
• Consider whey isolate protein powder. Protein powder is convenient and will deliver nutrients to the muscle tissues quickly to fuel the workout ahead.
• Time your meal properly. If you’re going to the gym right away, opt for simple carbs to get instant energy. If you’re going in an hour or longer, opt for complex carbs, which will digest more slowly.
• Always eat something before intense training. The body can only use glucose as a fuel source for intense exercise so providing this will be a must for good performance. Otherwise you’ll crash fast and hard, so much so you may even start to feel shaky and weak.
• Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated during your session is important so be sure to drink at least 8 oz. of water before your workout and continue drinking water throughout.
• Prepare a pre-workout meal the night before. You have less chance of skipping it if you do.
• Consider a protein shake. If you work out first thing in the morning, this tends to be the easiest way to get the nutrition you need without feeling too full to move.
• Don’t eat more than 300 calories. For most people, this will be sufficient, and anything more could cause cramping.
• Avoid vegetables, which contain too much fiber and will just sit in your system while you work out. Save them for a later time during the day.
• Don’t eat high-volume foods. Foods that take up a large amount of space in the stomach may cause discomfort to occur, especially if the sport or activity requires a lot of different movements, like yoga.
• Pay attention to your own body. Learn to read your signals. Some foods will work better for you than others during your pre-workout meal.
The Bottom Line
Making sure to take the time to plan out your pre-workout meal protocol will only serve you well in the long run. If you are eating properly at this point in the day, you will feel better post-workout. And the food you eat will kick-start your recovery so your body makes the most of the time and energy you put in at the gym.
Regardless of the goal you currently are working towards, understanding pre-workout nutrition is a must for ensuring your body is healthy and happy as you increase your fitness level.