Posted July 21, 2012 by Shannon in Nutrition
 
 

Perfecting Your Pre-Workout Meal: Get Your Facts Straight

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Whether you’re just getting started with a brand new fitness plan or you’ve been going at it for some time and are now looking to take things up a notch, one thing that you must be considering is your pre-workout nutrition.

The food that you fuel your body with immediately before that workout session will directly influence the results that you see.  As a result, improper fueling habits will lead to less than optimal performance a decreased level of results.

It doesn’t especially matter if you’re working out in the gym, playing a game of hockey on the ice, or shooting hoops as your workout in the basketball court.  Your muscles will be working hard and will require proper nourishment.

So what do you need to know about this important meal?

Let’s go over the main facts to consider.

Carbs Must Be Present For High Intensity Exercise

The very first must-have for your pre-workout meal is some carbohydrates.  Even if your primary goal is to shed a little body fat and get leaner, this does not mean you can forgo carbohydrates.  If you’re just doing a very moderate paced workout – such as a light jog for 20 minutes, then you can likely get away without having carbs present.

But, if you’re doing anything that requires more intensity, you absolutely must be getting them in.  The muscles will be running off glucose for any form of intense workout session and if that glucose isn’t provided, you definitely will not be performing well.  Fatigue will be quick to hit and you’ll have far less overall strength than you should.

Be Careful With Fruit Juice

The second thing to note is that you need to be especially careful of fruit juice.  Many people opt to serve up fruit juice with their pre-workout meal thinking that it’s going to help fuel their muscles being that it does contain those carbs they’re after.

But take warning, many people will find that fruit juice in particular causes some gastrointestinal distress, so that pre-workout meal may leave you feeling much less than optimal.

Go with another source of carbs instead.

Choose A Low Fat Source Of Protein

Moving along, another must-have for the meal before your workout is a lean source of protein.  The amino acids you feed your body at this time are going to be used directly for the repair purpose after the session is over, so you’ll be kick-starting recovery beforehand by having this protein there.

Good options for lean protein before your workout include egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, and whey protein powder.

Keep The Meal Light

Finally, the last thing to keep in mind as you go about preparing your pre-workout meal is that you must keep the meal light.  Avoid taking in too many calories or high-volume foods as these will just cause you to feel weighted down and could potentially cause cramping as well.

Aim to keep the meal around 200-400 calories depending on your calorie intake requirements and the intensity of the session you plan to do.

If you are burning up a high amount of calories in the workout session, then the post workout meal is where you can really boost your intake and get that extra energy in for a fast recovery.

So keep these tips in mind.  Do not ever go to the gym without fueling your body first or you’ll regret it as your session won’t be nearly as productive as you would have hoped.


Shannon

 
Shannon
Named ‘Writer Of The Year’ two times running, Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now. For more information on Shannon, please see her website, www.ShannonClarkFitness.com