‘What should I eat before a workout to maximise my results?’
This is one of the most common questions that clients ask, and the answer can make a big difference to your workout.
Get it right and you’re fuelled to crush every rep. Get it wrong and you’re likely to feel weak, drained or lacking that ‘pop’ in your reps.
Whether your goal is muscle building, fat loss or health, here are 3 key things to focus on with nailing your pre-workout nutrition.
1. Get your energy levels right
Your body requires different kinds of energy depending on the kind of training you are doing. But there are two key nutrients you can focus on to support more effective weight training for most people with body composition goals.
Found in beef or fish, creatine helps support the creatine phosphate energy system, which comes into play in short, explosive movements, such as a heavy deadlift. Supplementing with around 5g of creatine daily can help you eke out those extra few reps in a hard set, helping you to increase your training volume over time.
Your body derives glycogen primary from carbohydrates.
So, focus on eating good-quality carbs from whole foods to replenish muscle stores. For body composition clients, we find it best to consume carbohydrates either post-workout or in the final meal of the day.
But if you are training for performance, a pre-workout meal several hours before your session can help you feel psychologically prepared to perform at your best.
Good sources of carbs include sweet potatoes, oats or grains.
2. Get your protein intake right
Protein synthesis repairs and rebuilds muscle tissue. We can stimulate this process two ways:
- Lifting weights
- Eating protein
Everyone worries about consuming that post-workout shake in the so-called ‘anabolic window’. But research shows that total protein intake throughout the day is most important.
However, making sure you ingest amino acids in some form, whether through solid food or a supplement can help provide the building blocks to start repairing muscle tissue straight from the off.
3. Get your hydration right
Dehydration will kill your exercise performance. Even dehydration levels of 2% will impair your strength and power output needed for an effective workout.
But that doesn’t just mean drinking during your workout or when you’re thirsty; it means keeping your body properly hydrated throughout the day.
Focusing on replenishing electrolytes is also important, which also helps to maintain optimal cellular hydration levels.