Fuel Up: The Importance of your Pre-Workout Meal
There are a lot of misconceptions about if you should eat before your workout. Also, if you do, what should you eat? And when?
Have you ever skipped a meal before the gym and gone in and felt wiped out half way through your workout? The most important question to ask yourself is, “what was the last thing I ate and when did I eat it?” If you are skipping your pre workout meal you are doing it all wrong!
During exercise, your body is converting glycogen to glucose to help contract your muscles. But in order to have that happen you must restore the glycogen in your body and that’s where CARBS come into play.
The protein in your pre-workout meal is also going to improve muscle protein synthesis, prevent muscle damage, and promote better recovery. Many people are under the assumption that in order to build muscle you need to eat protein. Although that is true, in order to maximize muscle growth and have a more efficient workout, you need an adequate combination of protein AND carbs.
A key component to a pre-workout meal is timing. You don’t want to eat to early and risk not having enough energy for the end of your workout, but you also don’t want to eat too late and get sick. Try eating your pre-workout meal 30-60 minutes before your workout.
Portions are going to be important as well. Each individual is going to be different. One person may require more carbs whereas another person could perform their best with less carbs. Trial and error is the key to success.
Now, to answer the question…”What should you eat?” This is going to vary from person to person as well. I find that I perform better when I eat whole grains or a sweet potato with some fruit. It keeps me full long enough to be energized through an entire workout.
Here are two of my favorite pre-workout meals:
Blueberry Yogurt Oatmeal Crunch:
Old Fashioned Oats
Fat Free Yogurt
Chicken Sweet Potato/Banana Bowl:
I know what you’re thinking…what kind of combination is that?!? Well, don’t knock it before you try it. I had the same reservations, but once I tried it I was hooked.
Each recipe contains the right amount of protein and carbs for my body. It keeps me energized throughout my entire workout. Also, it’s DELICIOUS! It took many meals with different types and amounts of food for me to find what worked best for me. So, if you try something and it didn’t work, keep making changes until you find the best pre-workout meal for YOU!