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Pre Workout Nutrition

A pre-workout meal is a whole foods meal that falls within 3 hours of your workout. When you eat the right foods in the right amounts these nutrients can offer a number of benefits, including:

1) More Energy – Filling up your glycogen stores (body’s energy tank) before a workout can help improve your energy levels, strength and endurance during a workout.

2) Protecting Your Hard Earned Muscle – When you workout at a high intensity, especially with heavy weights, an un-fuelled body may break down muscle tissue to use it as energy. A pre-workout meal can help prevent muscle breakdown and improve muscle recovery and repair.

3) Increased Muscle Mass – Eating protein before exercise can help slowly release amino acids (the building blocks of muscle) into your blood stream, promoting muscle growth.

To obtain these benefits your pre- workout meal should be:

Low Fat – Because fat takes the longest to digest the pre-workout meal should be relatively low in fat so to ensure your meal is digested before you start training.

Moderate Protein – Approximately a palm size portion: Choose low-fat meat or dairy to provide your body with Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which can help increase the rate of protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown during and after your workout.

Moderate Carbohydrates – Aim for a fist size portion of low GI carbohydrates (slower release into blood stream) to provide a steady stream of energy and top – up muscle glycogen stores.

The challenge is knowing how much food your body can handle pre-workout: Some people can eat a full meal as little as an hour before a workout, while others may need to wait 3-4 hours. This is based on trial-and-error and your own personal experience.

Let’s put together everything you’ve learned so far into simple meal ideas:

  • Oatmeal with Whey Protein and/or fruit mixed in
  • Eggs on toast or veggie omelet
  • Turkey salad wrap
  • Grilled Chicken with sweet potato and greens
  • Tuna on 2-3 rice cakes
  • Yogurt with fruit
  • Protein shake/smoothie

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