Nutrition plays a critical role in the life of those who regularly work out. It provides the foundation for building your body with every single workout. People are specifically focused on meals that come after the workout, during the window of time when the body is recovering from the training session. But, pre-workout meals can be considered even more important, as they directly affect the performance and recovery process.
That being said, there are many things to take into account before picking the right choice for a pre-workout meal. These are some tips to follow if you are looking to make serious gains.
Picking the right time frame
This is one of the factors that significantly affects how strong the effects of the meal are going to be. Picking the wrong time for a meal can be counter-productive, as you can experience stomach cramps during the workout. This kind of pain significantly impacts a person’s performance during exercise, making it significantly important to pick the right time to take your meal.
The size of the meal is directly related to the timing of the pre-workout meal. For example, having an apple, an orange or a banana 30 minutes before a workout is a great way to jumpstart your training session.
But, if you decide to eat something that contains nutrients that take longer to metabolize, your performance during the workout is going to be much lower, as you might experience cramps because most of the blood is concentrated around the organs digesting the food. So, for heavier types of food such as lean meat and vegetables, it is better to pick a time frame of about an hour or two before a workout.
We are all different when it comes to digestion, so it is vital to follow your body when deciding on when you should have that pre-workout meal. Picking your sweet spot is going to make it possible for you to improve your performance, which will lead to serious muscle gains.
Determining the right food type
Different types of foods have a different impact on our bodies. This is why it is important to understand which type of food might be the best enhancement to your workout routine.
- Slow-digesting carbohydrates – These types of carbs are the fuel that keeps you going for a longer period. The problem with fast-digesting carbs is that they are quickly metabolized, and their effects last for a shorter amount of time. However, with slow-digesting foods such as oatmeal, brown rice or white rice, it’s important to remember that, to get the full benefits, it is better to eat it an hour or two before the workout.
- Fast-digesting carbohydrates – Even though this types of carb burns out fast, they are the best option when you are in a hurry. Eating a single orange or a banana before a workout will give you enough energy to jump start that exercise. Additionally, oranges are particularly rich in Vitamin C and electrolytes, which your body needs.
- Coffee – This is an underestimated nutrient which significantly boosts your workout performance. There are many benefits of drinking coffee before a workout, but keep in mind that you should drink it about an hour before the workout because its peak effects on the body occur at this point after consumption.
- Protein – Never forget to take in a lot of protein. Some people prefer to do this after the workout, but eating some protein before as well as after is going to provide your muscles with the building blocks they need to rebuild and recover after a hard session.
By sticking to this routine before every workout, you are certainly going to gain more muscles in the long run.
Taking into account the type of training
Last but not the least, the kind of training you are focusing on plays a major role in picking the right food. For example, if you are planning to run a lot, it is a much better option to go for slow-digesting carbohydrates, but consume them some 3 or 4 hours before the run. During this time, your body will have absorbed all the energy from the food and replenished its glycogen stores, yet the empty stomach is going to allow you to take a long run without experiencing cramps.
But if you are planning to go to a gym, you can take the slow-digesting carbs only two hours before the workout without feeling any adverse effects.
Different types of exercises demand different pre-workout nutrition, so always bear this in mind before you choose your meal.
Applying these tips is going to help you significantly increase your workout performance. Better performance also means better end results, i.e. incredible muscle gains.