Pre Workout Nutrition

Protein and fat consumption is important in a well balanced diet, but when it comes to working out, carbohydrates are the most important macronutrient to keep in mind.

In order for you to have enough energy to workout, you need to have enough glycogen on reserve. I wrote about what glycogen is here. If you are running low on glycogen, you will feel low on energy throughout your workout.

Glycogen is just stored glucose. There are two primary ways your body accesses glucose...

1. By eating carbohydrate rich foods (the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose).

2. Through the process of Gluconeogenesis, which is the body's ability to generate glucose from non-carbohydrate sources.

Your body would much rather be fed glucose than to have to create it on its own (through Gluconeogenesis). So this means, be sure to eat enough carbs to fuel your workout.

Everyone will have their own preference as to how they carb up and prepare for a workout. People have differing preferences of carb sources. People will also time their carbs different from others. As I usually say, find what works best for you.

Overall, I like to consume whole carb sources (such as fruits, rice, potatoes, oats, and vegetables,) and stay away from carbs that have been refined and processed (such as pasta, bread, cereal, protein and energy bars, and sugary foods/juices.)  

Keep in mind that I'm not a proponent or practitioner of eating 6+ small meals per day. On average, I eat 3 meals per day, and some days I eat as few as 1 meal per day.

I like to have a pretty emptied stomach when I work out. What I mean by this, is that I like to work out at least 2 hours after my last meal. 

This is what I consume for carbs on a typical training day...

Breakfast Carbs

Oats and a banana

Lunch Carbs

Sprouted bread, and a serving of a fruit and a vegetable (which varies from week to week).

Pre Workout

No carbs immediately pre workout. I rely on the glycogen stored up from the previous day's post workout eating, and from the current day's breakfast and lunch. What I do like to have immediately pre work out is some caffeine.

Post Workout Carbs

Chocolate milk and a banana

Evening Carbs

Potatoes, vegetables and fruit

As I wrote in "Post Workout Nutrition," most of my carbs are consumed after my workout for the day. After a work out is when your body is primed to absorb and store carbohydrates to be used for the next day.

If I were to suggest anything to you it would be this...

1. Eat clean, wholesome, and light foods most of the time, but especially before you work out for the day. Eating a huge and highly processed meal will put you right on the couch. 

2. Have a starchier carb source (potatoes, oats, rice) earlier in the day. This will satiate you and help get glycogen stored up and topped off.

3. The closer to working out, consume more fruit. It's easily digestible so you won't feel full or bloated when it's time to workout. It also provides a fast acting source of energy to your body.