For experts, maintaining a healthy body is more about nutrition rather than the workout regimen itself. In fact, many believe that what you eat before your workout can have a significant impact on the effects of exercise on your body. Eating the right food can help you prepare your body to perform at its best during the workout. It is also critical in helping your body recover faster.
The type of diet you have before an exercise can help determine your body’s response to the routine. In case you don’t know, macronutrients have a different effect on your body, and having the right balance depends on your body and the kind of exercise you need to do.
During a workout, the muscles of your body extract the glucose from the carbohydrates to use as their fuel. Our body processes and stores glucose as glycogen through the liver and muscles. For quick, high-intensity workouts, glycogen acts as the main energy source. However, for exercises that are longer in duration, the way the body processes carbohydrates depends on the overall diet, and the intensity and type of exercise you are doing.
Note that as the glycogen levels in your body diminish, the intensity level of your exercise goes down as well. This is why for high-intensity and prolonged workouts, carbo-loading is ideally done at least a week before to increase glycogen stores.
Consuming protein as a pre-workout diet can have a positive impact on your athletic performance. A study has shown that individuals who had at least 20 grams of whey protein had improved muscle growth in addition to better muscle performance and recovery.
For moderate and low-intensity workouts, the body uses fat as its main fuel. Studies that focused on a high-fat diet showed that there is a significant improvement in athletic performance. However, it is worth noting that the diet was done over an extended period instead of before a workout. Nevertheless, it is a good measure of how fat intake can have an impact on increasing the endurance of runners.
Timing Your Pre-Workout
Another important factor to consider when choosing your pre-workout diet is the timing. Ideally, you should consume a well-balanced meal composed of protein, carbs, and fat at least two to three hours before your scheduled workout. If sticking to this timing isn’t ideal for your lifestyle, keep in mind that the sooner you are to exercise, the smaller your meals should be.
If you need to work out within the next hour, your meal should consist mostly of protein and carbs, and they must be easy to digest. For workouts within the next three hours, it’s best to consume whole grain carbs, lean protein, and a salad on the side. You can also opt to have a whole-grain toast paired with an egg omelet and avocado spread. Complete it with fruit. For the main meal, like lunch, you can have brown rice, lean protein, and roasted vegetables.
For workouts within two hours, go for a protein smoothie. You can also have milk mixed with whole-grain cereal. If the exercise starts within an hour, your choices become limited to your choice of fruit with Greek yogurt or a granola bar. Having supplements can also be incorporated into your pre-workout routine. Shop here for products that can help you improve your strength and performance, increase body mass, and prevent workout fatigue.
Now that you know how integral nutrition is for your workout, you should try to find out what type of diet works for you before you hit the gym.