Before stepping foot in a gym there are two very important things you need to do.
The first thing is plan out your workout.
You should never go to the gym without knowing what you will do.
Not having a plan will lead to mediocre results.
The second thing you need to do is fuel your body with the right nutrients to ensure you can make it through the entire workout.
If you choose not to eat before a workout you will find it very difficult to make it through your workout.
You may even start to feel sick and be forced to quit your workout before you’re ready.
A Few Things You Should Know About Pre-Workout Nutrition
The best pre-workout meal is one that consists of carbohydrates and protein.
When it comes to carbohydrates, which are the main source of fuel for your body, you have to decide between complex carbs and simple sugars.
The best type of carbs to eat before a workout will depend on the timing of the meal.
If you will be working out within the next 30 minutes to an hour its best to stick with simple sugars.
Simple sugars do two very important things.
They digest quickly and they provide your body with fast acting glucose.
If on the other hand you won’t be working out for at least 3 hours, focus on eating complex carbs.
Not only do they take longer to digest, but they also provide your body with a slow release of energy allowing you to workout for longer periods of time.
Consuming protein before a workout will help prevent muscle catabolism.
Try to avoid fats before you workout as they metabolize slowly and will end up zapping your energy.
Here are the top 5 foods to eat before a workout
Chicken, Leafy Greens, and Brown Rice
Chicken and vegetables are not just top post workout foods, they are also great foods to eat before a workout.
Add in a little brown rice and you will have a nourishing meal that will sustain you through your workout.
There will always be days when you don’t have time to cook a 3 course meal before a workout.
On those days you can grab an apple and keep it pushing.
Apples provide you with a quick dose of carbohydrates, and boost your glucose levels ensuring you are energized for your workout.
For best results be sure to eat an apple 30-40 minutes before you workout.
This way your glucose levels will get a quick boost and your body will feel invigorated before you workout.
Eggs are the perfect pre-workout food for anyone who hits the gym hard.
It doesn’t matter if you like them fried or scrambled, because no matter how you prepare them they are still a great source of protein.
Eggs provide your body with branched chain amino acids, which are needed to prevent the breakdown of muscle.
And for all those worried about the fat and cholesterol content in eggs, don’t be!
Eggs are actually one of the healthiest foods in the world.
For best results eat your eggs 2-3 hours before your workout session.
This way they will have plenty of time to digest.
Whole Grain Bread
If you engage in any type of endurance training such as running or swimming, adding whole grain bread to you pre-workout meal is a smart move.
Whole grain bread will increase glycogen reserves in your body and slowly release energy that will fuel you through your workout.
Greek Yogurt and Dried Fruit
Dried fruit and Greek yogurt will provide you with a quick dose of simple sugars and protein.
Always get low fat Greek yogurt as it has the highest protein content.
Both foods should be consumed an hour before working out.
One Last Tip
While eating before a workout is extremely important, you will also want to make sure you are properly hydrating.
If you become dehydrated during your workout you may feel fatigued and lose coordination.
If this happens you will open yourself up to injury.
The easiest way to avoid it is to properly hydrate before hitting the gym.
Try to drink a minimum of 16 ounces of water an hour before heading to the gym.
Once at the gym you should be drinking 7-10 ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you stay hydrated during your workout is to take a gallon of water with you to the gym.
How much of the gallon you drink will depend on how intense your workout is.
If you are doing a lite workout that doesn’t require a lot of lifting, aim to drink at least half of the gallon before leaving the gym.
If on the other hand your workout consists of heavy lifting and high reps, try to drink the entire gallon before leaving the gym.