Nutrition is an enormous part of training at any level, and giving your body the right fuel to burn during the day and during a training session is important. Knowing what foods will work best for particular types of workouts, which foods will aid in recovery, and how much of each food group or type to eat requires quite extensive knowledge, but some basic rules on pre-training nutrition and knowing the best foods is a good start. Let’s have a look at what types of foods you should be eating as well as some of the best options for your meal before training.
Consider Your Workout Goals
The goal of your workout plays a role in what you should look at including in your meal before training. If your goal is bodybuilding or building muscle, you’ll want to focus on bulking your meal with lean protein and carbs. You should opt for a smaller meal too, so you don’t have heavy food sitting in your stomach while you’re pushing your body to its limits. Include things like egg whites, rice, oatmeal and chicken in your pre-workout meal.
If you’re opting for a workout aimed at weight loss, then you should pack your meals with high energy, low-fat foods that will keep your body fuelled for the duration of your workout and the demands you place on it. You’ll want to opt for a smaller meal about 30 minutes before your workout and include foods like bananas, almond butter, fruit and some oatmeal.
1. The Humble Banana
There’s a good reason bananas are often referred to as a natural energy bar. They’re high in all the stuff your body needs for sustaining a good workout session like carbohydrates and potassium. Because they’re 90% carbs, you get a real bang for your buck out of the banana too. You can’t complain about the fact that they’re packaged straight off the tree to be easy to take with you to the gym either!
2. Chicken and Rice
Chicken is incredibly lean meat when you opt for the breast meat, and pound for pound provides a really great source of protein. Combine it with a clean carb source like rice or sweet potato, or follow it up with a good serving of oatmeal and you’ll have a well rounded pre-workout meal perfect for those hard gym sessions.
3. Training Supplements
Training supplements have a natural advantage for pre-workout nutrition because they are purposely engineered to give your body everything it needs for a strong and sustained training session. They also come in many different combinations to suit any need or body type and are designed to boost your energy and keep it up for the duration of the workout.
Timing Your Pre-Training Meals
Getting your meals in at the right time can be just as important as what you’re eating. The first step is having a hearty, balanced meal between two and three hours before you hit the gym or go out on your run. This gives your body time to process and digest the meal, so it doesn’t make you feel lethargic and slow, but still provides your body with the nutrition and energy it needs. About 30 minutes to an hour before your workout, you’ll want to eat a few snacks to top up those energy reserves and get your body ready for optimal performance.
It should be quite clear by now that nutrition plays a big part in exercise and working out. Knowing what to eat and when will leave you in good shape, no pun intended!