Some people get confused about pre workout nutrition. Ideally you have two phases of eating prior to a workout; there is a pre workout meal about 3 to 4 hours prior to the workout and then a pre workout snack an hour before the workout.
Why the two phases? The snack is really just energy that will be available to your body during the workout to top off the tank and start work on the recovery process. While the pre workout meal is a chance to fill up your glycogen stores, prevent muscle breakdown, promote protein synthesis, improve recovery, and of course provide more energy.
So basically there is no good reason not to have a solid pre workout meal if you want or even expect to gain maximum benefit from your workout.
What to Eat
You need to consume a meal that is mostly carbohydrates and some protein. Your body will need time to digest the food so too much protein and fat will still be working its way through digestion if you go overboard in those areas. Additionally you don’t need more than 600 to 800 calories because again, it will take too long to digest. The ration of carbohydrates to protein should be about 65-70% and 25-30% of total calories.
On top of that you want to have at least 20 ounces of water to help get your cells as hydrated as possible.
Pre Workout Meal Ideas:
- Oatmeal – Take a regular serving of oatmeal with low-fat milk and add in a scoop of whey protein with a 1/4 cup of raisins on top. This gives a complete meal packed with vitamins, fiber, carbohydrates, and premium protein.
- Omelet and Fruit – Mix up 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites along with cheese and veggies into an omelet. Add a side of fruit or whole wheat toast with almond butter.
- Turkey Wrap – Use a whole wheat tortilla, low fat cream cheese, turkey, and spinach to make a healthy, energy packed, vitamin filled meal.
- Tuna Sandwich – Use whole wheat bread, tuna with low-fat mayo, low fat cheese, sliced pickles, and spinach for a big sandwich full of everything good and needed for a great workout.
- Grilled Chicken – Grill 6 to 8 ounces of chicken with a side of yams or sweet potatoes and then asparagus, broccoli, or a green salad.
- Fruit Smoothie – Get a nice big smoothie full of fresh fruits. Add a scoop of whey protein powder for the protein kick and you are ready to rock and roll.
You can see the general idea with these pre workout meal ideas. They are fairly basic but each one includes strong sources of protein and carbohydrates. Fresh sources of fruits and vegetables ensure high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants and whole grains make sure your fill up your glycogen stores for plenty of energy to burn during your workout.
These six ideas are some of the best we have come across and give you an excellent variety to use no matter what time of day you plan on hitting the gym.