Nutrition is the fuel that powers the high powered sports vehicle that is your body. With the wrong, or little, fuel you are unlikely to be performing at the top level you are able to.
It’s very important to remember, as well, you could be eating a great meal for a pre workout, with the correct macronutrients and micronutrients to give you a good burst of energy and allow you to train the session of your life. However, if you don’t like the food, if it tastes of cardboard and makes you want to vomit then there is no way that you will commit and adhere to it.
Taste and personal preference is often overlooked when fitness professionals talk about nutrition. But it is a major part of human enjoyment and psychology. Try and come up with a few options for yourself, to stave off boredom and to suit your own tastes.
An Aside on Nutrition.
If you’re new to nutrition then I might not be able to fill you in sufficiently about it in a short aside such as this.
The basics –
- The essential building block. This helps in muscle growth and repair, as well as hormone production.
- The general prescribed daily dose is 0.8 to 1.2g of protein per lb of bodyweight. A 200lb man would be looking at 160g-240g of protein a day by this.
- 4 calories per gram.
- While it is the densest of the three macronutrients, with 9 calories per gram, it is also the busiest of them.
- Essential for growth and development of cell membranes.
- Aids in absorption and storage of fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K).
- Protects organs and body tissues.
- Supports immune system.
- Regulates inflammation.
- As dense as protein with 4 calories per gram.
- The body’s preferred source of energy as all of our cells like glucose.
- Fibrous carbohydrates are also necessary for a healthy digestion.
Finding the correct daily balance for yourself is a different article entirely as it is incredibly individual. One 200lb male could have massively different calories to another 200lb male. Things like activity level, intensity of training, diet history and goals will all come into play when trying to decipher it for you.
For a little more on macronutrients, take a look at this.
The Preworkout Meal.
So why should you focus on a pre workout meal?
- More Energy.
I used the analogy of fuel and you being a high end sports car before. I think that explains this one well.
- Increase Muscle Anabolism.
This is more for your overall nutrition over a longer period of time. But having the correct nutrition means that you’ll get more from training.
Now you might be wondering what you need to eat. You might be able to guess from the brief aside above as to what types of food you need to eat.
Although, you might wonder why fats aren’t often advised pre workout with them being the most calorically dense, the reason for this is that they are very slow to digest. It is for this reason that most would recommend that you make up a pre workout meal with upto 35% of your daily carbohydrate intake about 90 to 120 minutes before training. This will give your body enough time to absorb these carbohydrates for you to start training without feeling sick and for you to have energy to train hard and optimally.
What Type of Carbohydrates?
I briefly touched upon how some carbohydrates are more fibrous earlier in the article.
This is what is quite often referred to as simple carbohydrates versus complex. Simple ones are more easily absorbed by the body and provide a quick boost of energy as the body breaks down them down for glucose more quickly than complex carbohydrates. Things like fruits, such as bananas and oranges would be a good source of simple carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates would be food options more like porridge oats and bread take a bit longer to break down within the body and as a result these should be eaten with a bit more time to spare before a training session.
An easy way to determine which are simple and which are complex is that simple ones are generally the more sugary ones. This means the body has much less work to do in order to access the glucose for our energy.
As you can see, the different types of carbohydrates would mean that your body needs the different ones at different times. Overloading on sugar just before a workout would give you a quick burst of energy but it wouldn’t last. You need to supplement your simple carbohydrates with complex ones beforehand, and interspersed throughout the day.
I would suggest that with the meal 90 to 120 minutes before you train, you keep a focus on complex carbohydrates like oats or potatoes. This meal should give you enough energy to get through your day and your workout.
Half an hour or so before your workout if you find you need more of a kick, in terms of an energy boost, a preworkout shake or a piece of fruit can help you. This is also where a caffeine based supplement could also come in handy. A cup of coffee or an over the counter pre workout could help in this department.
Generally, if you find yourself over relying on pre workout supplements or caffeine then you might need to readjust your diet or recovery schedule.
So, with nutrition the main thing is eating the right things on the whole throughout your day. Pre workout meals are more about nutrient timing than overall nutrition. The main thing you will need to do is make sure your overall nutrition is on point and then focus on how to split it up around your training schedule.
To Sum up.
Your nutrition is paramount for you to achieve your fitness goals, regardless of what they are. The timing of it is also important for the best possible workout you can have. Find foods you like that fit into what was explained above and have at it.