Yes, you should. Because if you are going to exercise then your body is going to need fuel. Now, the real questions should be when and what.
What fuel you put in will not only affect your performance, but it can also affect your results. If you are working out to lose weight, then stuffing your face to get charged up for exercise is probably not the journey you want to go on.
Instead, a pre-workout diet needs to take into account a couple of variables based on what the workout is, and what you’re doing it for. Keep that in mind as we go through today’s list of workout tips, and you’ll find yourself able to get the best from your exercise every time you hit it.
What You Can Eat
When it comes to what to eat before a workout, your choices are many and diverse.
Whatever you choose should have a few basic ingredients. However, bear in mind that, protein is the most important, followed closely by BCAAs – branched chain amino acids that help your body use the protein it gets to repair damaged muscle fibers.
You can find both of these in popular workout foods like egg whites, chicken breast, and lean red meats. If you want to build muscle, take more dairy products for Leucine – you’ll want to drink a cup of milk or eat some eggs.
On the other hand, let’s talk about carbs. If you’re dieting, you’re probably avoiding carbs. Bad idea. Carbs turn into glucose, or more accurately glycogen, which is stored in muscles and organs. When you are exercising, this supply is run down by your brain, nervous system and organs.
As such, you need some carbs to replace the glycogen you’ve burned through, otherwise, you’ll just feel exhausted and underperform. Rice cakes, fig newtons, cashews and other nuts, wholemeal bread, and bananas are the best for this, as they’re low in fiber and will digest quickly to become energy.
Also, it’s always a good idea to have a source of iron and calcium, as these are used by blood, muscle, and bone, and all are about to go through it. Broccoli and Kale do great work in this department, so think about a veggie smoothie.
When To Eat
It’s recommended you eat 45 minutes before a workout, giving your body the chance to break down and begin to absorb the nutrients in the food in order to make them available to you as energy.
If you’re getting ready for a workout first thing in the morning, this may seem like a long time, but don’t be fooled. If you make eating the first thing you do, by the time you’ve put on your workout gear, brushed your teeth and prepped your stuff for the day ahead, you’re going to be ready to start your stretch.
You also want to drink your water 20 minutes after that – drinking water with food will dilute the stomach acid and make the digestion process less effective. At the same time, this leaves 20 minutes for the water to be absorbed so it isn’t sloshing around in there and making you feel nauseous during high-intensity spots.
Of course, if you’ve just eaten your lunch or dinner, then the same applies – wait at least 45 minutes before you do exercise. In that case, you don’t need a special meal for your work out – just make sure all these components are included in your “real life” meals.
So there you have it: the best way to prepare your body for the rigors of exercise is to know what to eat and when to eat. Make sure when you choose the right combination of protein, carbs, and micronutrients.
But do not overdo it. If you go overboard, your body will transfer more of its energy into digestion, and prioritize this process over movement, leaving you even more sluggish than if you hadn’t eaten anything.
Gentle reminder: The information on this article is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare professional and should not be considered as professional advice. Please seek appropriate medical help when necessary.