Although, we give much importance to what we eat after a hectic workout program, our pre workout meal often gets neglected. In our ignorance, we actually provide a good deal of negative impact to our lifestyle. If your body does not boast of sufficient energy to perform, then hitting the gym can be a futile effort. Increased energy will help you to sustain a few more crunches or a couple of extra reps without getting tired easily. As a result, you will be able to work out till your maximum potential and achieve the much coveted target.
The Time – The ideal time to consume a pre work out meal is two hours before the workout. This is the optimal time as is determined by your metabolism and the amount that you can eat. Also this is the time (see it!) difference that you should strictly abide by because unless the food gets enough time to get digested you might throw up during the workout session. If such things happen, then all benefit of the meal will naturally get lost. If the meal is consumed three to four hours before the workout, it should be a large meal of 300 to 500 calories; if taken two to three hours before then it should be a small meal of 200 to 300 calories; it should ideally be a liquid meal of 100 to 200 calories if it is taken one to two hours before the workout and finally if eaten within one hour before the exercise, it should preferably be a light snack of 50 to 100 calories.
The Objective – The primary objective of a pre workout meal is to provide the muscles and the brain (see what you need!) with ample amount of energy to perform throughout the entire training session. Studies also say that if protein can be consumed before weight lifting then it results in muscle growth. Your training results will increase in this way and you will just be required to drink ample amount of water so that the nutrients get absorbed and you remain hydrated.
What to Avoid – Foods with high sugar content such as soft drinks or candy should be avoided before a workout session. Since the metabolic rate of an athlete is much higher than the average individual, therefore this type of food may cause a drop in their blood sugar level and they might feel light headed and fatigued and their workout session will result in no or negative results.
The Ideal Meal – The ideal pre workout meal should consist of the following:
Fruits: Fruits are rich in carbohydrates and vitamins that energize our body organs for workout session. Banana because of its rich carbohydrate and potassium content and oranges because of its high Vitamin C and electrolyte content can be ideal choices because of their ability to prevent the occurrence of any cramps.
Moderate to Low GI Carbohydrate: They are instrumental in fuelling the body throughout the entire workout. But if you have a meal consisting of high GI carb, then although you will get a very energetic start, it will soon start to diminish. Ideal choices should be brown or pumpernickel bread, white or brown rice, milk, yoghurt, oatmeal or whole wheat bagel or whole wheat pasta.
Amino Acid: Without proper protein intake, there will not be proper muscle growth. These proteins also ensure that there is a proper nitrogen balance in your muscle. Eggs, which are very high in biological value, can be consumed. Other options are chicken or fish, lean beef, tuna that has a good amount of Omega 3.
Essential Fatty Acid: Testosterone level (what’s this? see it!) are ensured by the consumption of EFA. They are necessary for fat soluble vitamins and they also keep up the energy levels to their standards. And since, they take a long time to digest, therefore they will keep you full even during the workout regimes. This is even true for individuals who feel hungry all the time. Fish, shellfish, hemp oil, soya oil, pumpkin seeds, leafy vegetables, walnuts etc. are full of essential fatty acid.
Others: Other things that you can have are peanut butter with the bagel or any meal cooked in olive oil or sesame oil.
Supplements: There are also some supplements that can be consumed. But it should be remembered that they should be taken in an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before the workout. Some of the important supplementations are Multivitamins, Creatine, BCCA, and Caffeine Ephedrine HCL, NO2, Fat Burners etc.
However, it should be noted that individuals who want to lose their fat with workout sessions must consume meals that are low in carb content.
Here are some examples of pre workout meals in accordance with the time in which they are done:
One slice whole grain toast
One tsp of butter
One hardboiled egg
One piece of fruit; banana, apple or plum
One tbsp of honey or jam
Eight ounces of water
Two cups of tossed green salad
One cup canned split pea soup
Five wheat thin cracker
Two cups of shredded iceberg lettuce
Half cup of diced cucumber
Half cup of diced tomato
Two tbsp of vinegar or oil dressing
Eighteen ounces of water
Garlic Ginger Chicken
One green salad tossed
One tbsp of oil/vinegar dressing
One cup pasta18 ounces of water
Half toasted bagel with jam
One scoop of whey protein powder
Eight ounces of water
On the way to the gym, fruits like apple or plum can be taken for their high carb content which will give you sufficient energy for the workout programs. A few raisin or almonds might also do the wonder by giving you immediate energy.
At the end of this article, it can be seen that pre workout meal should be given enough thought as post workout meal. With proper fuel, you will be able to push yourself for a few more minutes and no matter how many minutes you gained, it is only but profitable. This article has tried to give you an idea how the pre workout meal can be made into a valuable one. Hopefully, they will be beneficial in uplifting your lifestyle.