Now that you know why you should eat before a workout, we’ll tell you what to eat before exercise and a workout. The basic rule of a pre-workout snack or pre-exercise meal is that it should be easily digestible to provide you sustained energy for your workout. Whether its yoga, or running, or hitting the gym, the right pre-workout snack matters.
What does that mean- easily digestible snack? To be easily digestible, it should be low in fat; because fat slows the digestion process.
To provide sustained energy, it should have a combination of protein and carbohydrates. The protein will feed your muscles through your workout, and the carbohydrates will fuel your workout for energy. To make sure that it is sustained energy, it should not be simple carbohydrates, like sugar. If it is high on simple carbohydrates, then it will make your blood sugar shoot up before your workout, and a resulting sugar crash- as a result, you will feel lethargic even before your workout. Also, consumption of simple carbs promotes fat storage in the body.
When should you eat a pre workout snack? A pre workout snack should be eaten 30-50 minutes before your workout. This will give your body enough time to process the food.
What should you eat for a pre workout snack? There are plenty of snacks that can be eaten before a workout, but here are some of our favourite: oatmeal and milk, whey protein shake and fruits, choco smoothie, strawberry banana smoothie, chicken sandwich.
How much should you eat for a preworkout snack? This can vary based on the intensity of your workout and your body size, but basically, it should supply 150-250 calories. Smaller people should be on the lower end of that scale, and large muscular athletes should be on the higher end. Make sure not too eat too much, or it will literally hold you down. For a strenuous workout like a marathon, we have nutrition tips for marathon runners.
How to keep yourself well hydrated for the workout? Drink 16 ounces of water at least 45-60 minutes before a strenuous workout. That way, it will leave your system before the workout and keep you hydrated. Try to carry a bottle of water, and keep sipping, so it keeps your hydrated.
Now you know about your diet before your exercise session, whether its running, yoga, gym, or any type of workout. See this for more information on pre workout snack for muscle building. Watch out for the next article on what to eat after your exercise, and how soon should you eat after your workout!
Before most of the women stop reading this article, we have to tell you that this article is as important for you as it is for guys. Building muscle is key to looking good and being healthy for both men and women. Losing fat is good, but if you don’t have muscle, how will you get those toned arms, that flat midriff, the shapely butt, and those hot legs. All these body parts have muscle supporting them. And if the muscle is in good shape, then it looks good
Coming back to the topic- timing of nutrition. For ease of explanation, I will break the day up into 3 parts, pre workout, post workout and regular.
Pre-workout nutrition is important because this is the fuel for your workout. Sure, you might be eating through the day- remember that your body was probably using up what you ate. So, before your workout, eat a snack which is low in fat, and has a carboydrate:protein ratio of 1:1. So, if it has 25 gms of carbohydrates, then it should also have 25 gms of protein. This ratio is suggested, since the carbohydrates will help to fuel your workout and the protein will be used to supply to the muscles during your workout. Note, that it should be a low fat snack/meal. Fat slows down the absorption of nutrients into the body, so if your pre workout snack is high fat, then it won’t be absorbed quick enough by your body to really fuel your workout. Ensure that the carbs are not all simple carbohydrates, since that will give you instant energy, but will also create an energy crash, which affects motivation. A good protein shake should provide you with this mix of nutrients (Note, protein shake mixes vary, so note their contents). If you don’t have access to protein shake, then a chicken/turkey sandwich, with some cheese and wheat bread should do. If you’re vegetarian, then try the protein shake, or some lightly spiced chole (since they have both complex carbs and protein in them)
Post workout nutrition is key since after your workout, your muscles are sore and all the glycogen from your muscles in completely depleted. Your muscles are in a repair mode, and you want to supply it with nutrition to ensure that they repair themselves and build further on the existing muscle. Your post workout snack should be eaten within 30 minutes of completing your workout. It should again be a low fat snack, with a carb:protein ratio of 2:1. Low fat because it will speed up the absorption process. This snack needs a higher carbohydrate content because your muscles’ glycogen stores are depleted and to repair them, to supply them with nutrients your body needs fast dissolving carbohydrates. So, this is the time you want to eat simple carbohydrates (carbs with high Glycemic Index). The protein should be preferably whey protein since it is absorbed faster by your body. For this snack, high nutrient absorption rate is key. If your snack is liquid, all the better. An ideal post workout shake is low fat chocolate milk. Or a protein shake with honey, or other simple carbs. Another simple snack is low fat yogurt with sugar- yogurt has a combination of whey (fast absorbing protein) and casein (slow absorbing protein), and the sugar/yogurt will give you fast absorbing carbohydrates. At this time, you can also pop in a multivitamin with your snack. The vitamins and minerals are micro-nutrients that help perform body functions and help with building muscle.
Rest of the day: Through the rest of the day, feed yourself every 2-3 hours. Your muscles need food for maintenance, so you need to keep supplying them with it. Ensure you get healthy fats, from sources like nuts, fish, olive oil. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure you get all the nutrients.
Time your nutrition correctly, and you’re all set to get that hot body!