Although many people understand the importance of proper pre-workout nutrition, creating a simple plan to fuel your body for an effective workout is not easy for everyone.
Not only do you need to determine the right amount of carbs and fats, but you also need to optimize your pre-workout diet so that you don’t have any stomach discomfort and you have good mental energy as well.
Each food or drink we choose to eat before our workout is directly indicative of how effective our training session will be.
Check out these tips for priming your body and mind for an effective workout!
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Choose Whether You Prefer “Fasted” or “Fed” Training
For most people, “fasted” workouts will not be the answer. Fasted training generally means training on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
Some people prefer this style of training because they believe it helps them burn fat more effectively. Others choose fasted training because they believe they have more energy when they workout before eating anything.
Contrarily, most people prefer to train later in the day after they had time to eat a proper meal and fuel their body with adequate nutrition.
If you prefer fasted training, your pre-workout diet is much easier to understand.
However, if you prefer “fed” training, check out these tips for improving your pre-workout diet!
Eat a Meal About One Hour Before Training
If you are going to eat before your workout, you want to eat about one hour before you begin. If you have the time to eat a large meal about two hours before training, that is often even better.
Your pre training meal should be very balanced, and it should coincide with your normal diet.
A lot of people opt for a carbohydrate-heavy meal before training, but there are downsides to eating a lot of carbs before you head to work out. One of the main concerns with carb-heavy meals is that they can cause a “crash” in your mind and body which will cause you to feel lethargic by the time you get to your workout.
Instead of solely focusing on how many carbs you can eat, try a meal which is higher in quality protein and healthy dietary fats.
Protein and fats digest slower through your body and provide your body with more sustainable energy.
A 2:2:1 ratio of Protein: Dietary Fats: Carbohydrates is effective for many people.
Make Sure You are Hydrated!
Many people do not know this, but losing as little as 3% of your body weight through water loss (dehydration) can cause up to a 10% drop in performance!
If you think that this only applies to athletes, your wrong!
The average person walking on the street is moderately dehydrated, the symptoms are just not prevalent enough to make a difference. If you are trying to maximize your performance in the gym, you need to be conscious of how much water you are intaking.
Along with drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables is a great way to increase your water intake naturally.
Regardless of how you get more water into your body during the day, staying hydrated is a vital part of your pre-workout nutrition.
Try to drink an extra glass or two of water with your pre-workout meal about an hour before training, and then drink a bottle of water during your training session. Don’t drink too much before and during your training session or you will have to run to the bathroom multiple times!
Drinking a sustainable amount of water will keep your body and mind fresh throughout your training session!
Choose a Pre-Workout Product to Ignite Your Body and Mind for the Workout!
There are tons of pre-workout products on the market, and you might need to do some work to determine which is the best option for yourself.
The main ingredient in most pre-workout products is caffeine, and rightfully so. Multiple scientific research studies have proven that caffeine can:
- Improve Your Cardiovascular Endurance
- Increase Your Overall Work Capacity
- Assist Mental Focus and Mental Energy
- Decrease Feelings of Fatigue or Soreness
Outside of caffeine, there are many other nutrients which can help you have a more successful workout.
Examples of great ingredients in a pre-workout product include:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Citrulline Malate
- Beta Alanine
If you don’t prefer to use pre-workout products that contain loads of caffeine or other ingredients you aren’t familiar with, natural pre workout alternatives such as green tea or coffee are great options as well!
Drink your pre-workout product of choice about 20-30-minutes before your training session, and your body will be ready to go!
Far too many people skip out on a proper pre-workout meal or considering pre-workout nutrition at all. Eating well throughout your day is great, but you can easily have a more effective workout by improving your selection of foods and drinks before you head to your training session.
Use these tips and you will quickly notice how much more energy and focus you have during your workouts!
Founder of calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.