“What do I eat before working out?”
This is a question that our nutrition experts at Jax Nutrition get all the time.
While most people know what to eat after a workout, they’re unsure as to what they should be eating prior to a workout.
Good nutrition before, during and after a workout routine is essential for performance and stamina. Requirements can vary with your goals, workout intensity and body weight, however if your goal is to lose fat and increase performance, it is important to strategically eat before your workout by selecting the right amount of carbs, protein and fat.
Your pre-workout meal should focus on carbohydrates and proteins, and stay minimal in fat, under 10 grams. Fat slows down digestion and can inhibit your performance during your workout.
Carbs give you energy to power through an intense workout, since they are metabolized into glucose very quickly. Pre-workout nutrition for a cardio session requires more carbs than protein. For cardio and endurance exercises carbs should make up 75 to 100 percent of your healthy work-out nutrition. A high carb meal should be consumed 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.
Healthy carbs like pasta, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and rice are great pre-workout foods. You can also add supplements like karbolyn and BCAA's with glutamine and endurolytes that regulate protein metabolism.
If you have a long or intense workout, the more carbohydrates you need beforehand. You can also add protein and fiber to provide a steady supply of energy throughout your workout and prevent fatigue. Pre-workout meals, whether large or small, should always include plenty of water.
During Your Workout
Although your workout sessions may not be long enough to need additional fuel, certain supplements and protein snacks can help endurance. Extra workout fuel is necessary for people who train at a high intensity for well beyond an hour. Athletes also benefit from intra-workout supplements that contain important amino acids like leucine, lysine and methionine.
Depending on your workout intensity and body type, most people can benefit from supplements and extra protein during a workout. Recommended healthy workout nutrition during exercise includes karbolyn, endurolytes, BCAA's, as well as Gu's or gels, Powerbar blasts or cliff blocks. Don't forget to stay hydrated with plenty of water during your workout.
After a workout, you should focus on hydration and healthy workout nutrition that includes dietary protein for muscle strength and to help fight muscle soreness and fatigue. The longer or more intense the workout, the more water and protein gets depleted.
During exercise, a great deal of water is lost through perspiration, so it's important to rehydrate after a workout. The best source of hydration is to replenish your body with water. Some people may turn to sports drinks such as Powerade or Gatorade to replenish lost electrolytes, however be careful to not consume a large amount, as these beverages contain a lot of sugar and calories. Coconut water is a great alternative to sugary sports drinks, as it is a good source of potassium and magnesium, however pure water is recommended.
Immediately after a workout, you should consume a protein meal or protein shake into your post-workout nutrition. This will give your body what it needs to build lean muscle, repair muscle damage, prevent muscle soreness, and fight fatigue. A healthy post workout meal should consist of high-protein foods that are low in fat like fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, or cottage cheese. For a smaller meal, you can also include peanut butter and jelly, and oats with protein powder.
Great protein supplements should include BCAA's with glutamine, Karbolyn, post workout powders, and Endurox R4 for longer distance or more intense workouts. Protein shakes are a great source of post workout nutrition, since they are easy and fast to make when you need them the most.
When you're planning your workout meals for before, during and after exercise, focus on your workout goals and the length of your workout sessions. You want to make sure you eat for muscle strength and repair, energy and endurance. For more information on healthy work-out nutrition and meal plans, contact us at Jax Nutrition. We can create a nutrition plan that's just right for your workout goals and body type.