What to eat before a workout for optimal performance?
What you eat and when you eat can make a world of difference before a tough workout. Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand no matter what your fitness goals are. A pre-workout meal will ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to perform at a high level and maintain energy throughout.
When to eat before training?
Try and aim to finish eating a complete meal with whole foods an hour or two before a workout. If you're in a pinch for time, then drinking a protein shake and eating a piece of fruit or another easily digestible source of carbs is better than nothing.
What works best?
You should include a good amount of carbs in your pre-workout meal. (And yes, this applies even if you're trying to lose weight) Carbs are the body’s number one source of energy! Pair these carbs with a protein and fat source to make a complete meal. About 10 to 15 grams of fat will be plenty before a training session.
What are some good foods to choose before a workout?
Protein: You already know that protein is crucial for muscle growth. Some lean protein sources include; Greek yogurt, protein shake, grilled chicken breast or egg whites.
Carbs: Complex carbs are going to be best for digestion and maintaining energy levels. Some examples include oats, brown rice, sweet potato, whole-grain bread or fruit.
Fat: Some fat sources to include pre-workout include; avocado, whole nuts or nut butter.
Once you find carb, protein, and fat sources that work best for you, try and stick to those as your go-to pre-workout foods. Remember, what's "best" for you is relative and will make you FEEL good.
Overall diet matters most!
No matter if your goal is to build bigger muscles, increase your strength, lose weight or run faster, pre-workout nutrition is only part of the equation. Make sure you eat a well-rounded diet (beyond a pre-workout meal) that features plenty of nutrient-dense whole foods!
Some tips to keep in mind for your nutrition plan:
Eat three to five meals/snacks throughout the day, each with a quality protein source.
Complex carbohydrates should make up the majority of your carb intake. Simple carbs are fine in moderation, but slower-digesting carbs are preferable.
Emphasize unsaturated fat sources like nut butters, seeds, almonds, avocado, fatty fish, and olive oil.
Consume plenty of fibrous vegetables and a few servings of fruit to help meet your micronutrient and fiber needs.
Hydration is crucial! Aim for at least 100 fluid ounces of water daily, if not more depending on activity level.