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11 Tips for an Effective Pre-Workout Meal

December 6, 2016
Posted in Nutrition
December 6, 2016 admin

11 Tips for an Effective Pre-Workout Meal

If you want to get the most out of your workouts, then it all starts with proper nutrition. Yes, you do need to eat something before hitting the gym, and that’s something that we all need to remember. Eating a good quality meal before training will improve your endurance and provide you with the power and strength that you need to push through even the most strenuous workouts. So how can you be sure to make the most out of your pre-workout meal? We will go over some quick points to guide you in the right direction, but a big article on pre-work nutrition is coming up. So, stay tuned! These tips will help you put together an effective pre-workout meal to power through your training session like there’s no tomorrow.
So, you are getting ready for a strenuous workout today, right? Eating a good meal before you head to the gym has the potential to either make you have one of the best workouts ever, or to walk around the gym wondering why you are not home eating popcorn and watching TV -we’ve all been there-. Pre-workouts meal can have a huge impact on not only your energy level, but also your results in the gym. It could have a detrimental impact on your weight loss progress, muscle building progress or whatever goal you are trying to achieve, thus, you need to put some thought into what you eat beforehand. And like they, failing to plan is planning to fail! Here are some important points to remember about your pre-workout meal.
1) A little preparation can go a long way
 plan your meals
Preparing your meals and snacks ahead of time can save you time and energy. Whenever I play it by the ear, I end up putting too much thought into planning what I am going to eat before I head to the gym. Had I done my homework and planned my meal in advance, I wouldn’t be squeezing every corner of my empty skull trying to figure out how to put together a good meal before I step out. Planning what you’ll have the night before can save you time in the morning or before you head out. Plan for what you’re going to eat before that workout, and prepare it so that you can feast on that meal quickly before you get your session in.
2) It’s about quality, not quantity
quality food
You don’t need to eat a ton of food or add in too much variety, but you do need to focus on quality ingredients. Clearly eating junk food before a workout won’t help you, but it might make you feel crap. So, choose carefully and remember that this is your fuel so make the foods as high quality as possible. And stop thinking McDonald’s Big Mac is a good pre-workout meal, please!
3) Listen to your body for a better idea of what YOU truly need 
This may involve a bit of trial and error so pay close attention. You might get the best workouts ever if you consume a banana and a cup of milk before you train, and those foods might make you feel sleep and sick. Thus, listen to what your body needs for you may need nothing more than a smoothie to get an intense workout. Everyone is different so find your balance and you’ll know when you’re eating enough without going into the territory of being weighed down by too much food.
4) Combining food groups always works well
effective pre-workout meal
 Think about different food groups and creative ways to combine them. Play around with different combinations and see which combination is most sustainable to you. There is some true benefit of combining different foods; you will be getting many different micronutrients, vitamins and antioxidants which are essential for overall health and optimal performance. Combining whole grain crackers with hummus gives you the right carbs and protein. Low fat cottage cheese mixed with fruit works quite well too. The more that you can combine things from different groups, the more value you get for that workout regimen. This is just an example, though. Your macronutrient’s ratios solely depend on your goals and body composition (including weight) so plan your ratios accordingly.
5) Think of a mini meal as the perfect food
A turkey sandwich, an apple with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit—all great examples of the mini meal that you need. Simple, not too much, yet nutritionally sound.
6) Try to eat about 45 minutes before your workout
Don’t be stuffing food down your throat as you walk into the gym. Aim to eat about 45 minutes to an hour before a workout for to allow your body to absorb the nutrients and utilize the food’s energy without weighing yourself down. Plan for this as much as you can to get the most out of it! And don’t worry, most of the nutrients your intake from your pre-workout meal will remain in your blood stream till you finish your workout session.
7) Try to add in fruits and veggies wherever possible
They’re low in calories and fat-not that fat is the enemy- and yet packed with nutrients, so they are a perfect addition. Eat them alone or combine them with food groups, but be sure that they are included into your pre-workout meal.
8) A little protein can go a long way
protein preworkout
Yes, you do need protein but you don’t need to get crazy. A protein shake with some fruits or peanut butter in a sandwich is fine. Your body will need the protein for muscle repair and lean body mass preservation, so consume an adequate amount of protein without going overboard. However, that “adequate amount”, once again, depends on your weight, age, body composition…etc.
9) Yes you do need carbs for energy
We are talking about quality sources of carbohydrates here. So, consider whole grains or some complex carbs in general. Carbohydrates do give you energy but don’t confuse them with the wrong types like white bread or bread products. Simple carbs like that will be broken down easier by your body and converted into sugar (energy) too quickly for your body to fully utilize the produced energy. If you use whole grains you get all the energy and none of the sugar or energy crashes.
10) Drink some water
Along with the food that you eat, be sure that you are well-hydrated prior to your workout. Yes, you need food to fuel your workouts, but water is not any less important. In fact, studies have shown that dehydration could affect your performance by as much as 30%! Drink enough water so that you’re hydrated but not too much to the point that water sloshes around in your stomach.
11) Do not train without eating
This is common sense at its finest here, yet so many people believe that training on an empty stomach is essential for fat loss. This is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the exercise and nutrition and needs its own article. But trust me on this, eat before your train. Your body will thank you.
Take home message
Eating a well-balanced, medium-sized meal before you train is the way to go. Your pre-workout meal will fuel your workout, help you stay focused, and provide your body with its nutritional requirements so that it could begin repairing muscle tissue ASAP. If you are lazy and want a quick pre-work out meal ideas, some rice, chicken and 2 tbsp.’s of peanut butter is a perfect example of a solid pre-workout meal.

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