Pre-Workout Nutrition: What and When to Eat Before Workout

A Pre-workout snack is just as important as any other snack throughout the day. It provides you with the energy and nutrients to perform your best during your workout. But, that is, only if you eat the right kind of foods. Processed foods or a large serving of fatty foods can make you feel sluggish or sick putting a damper on your workout routine. When you eat and what you eat prior to exercise can make a huge difference to not only your performance but your recovery as well. Precision Nutrition recommends eating something that helps you sustain energy, helps preserve muscle mass, and boost performance. For your pre-workout nutrition, you should aim for a snack that has plenty of healthy carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, whole grains or whole wheat, fruits, and nuts. You will want to avoid too much fiber, that way you won’t have to interrupt your workout in order to go to the bathroom and completely avoid processed foods or sugary foods before a workout.

Carbo-Loading

Carbs before exercise help power your training and aid with recovery. “It’s a popular misconception that you only need carbs if you’re engaging in a long (more than two hour) bout of endurance exercise. In reality, carbs can also enhance shorter term (one hour) high-intensity training. So unless you’re just going for a quiet stroll, ensuring that you have some carbs in your system will improve high-intensity performance. Carbs will help preserve muscle and liver glycogen. This is what tells your brain that you are well fed, and helps increase muscle retention and growth. Carbs will also help stimulates the release of insulin,” says Precision Nutrition.

When to Eat?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends as an overall rule of thumb, “to not eat immediately before a workout, because while your muscles are trying to do their “thing,” your stomach is trying to simultaneously digest the food in your stomach. These competing demands are a challenge for optimal performance. And, even more of a factor, eating too close to a workout may cause you to experience some GI discomfort while you train or play.” Preferably, you should fuel your body about 1 to 2 hours before working out, that way your body has time to digest.

Conclusion

Simple pre-workout nutrition can go a long way in helping you perform better and recover faster. There are also many different supplements that can help with performance and promote recovery. Before making drastic changes to your diet or taking new supplements always check with a nutritionist or dietitian to see what is right for you.