Much is said about how important a post-workout meal is. On the other hand, many people forget about the essence of food eaten before training. Why is it so important? When and best to eat before training?
Eating is an important part of your workout, whether it’s weight or reduction, strength or speed and endurance. Food plays a very important role in the overall effects we achieve.
What happens when we do not eat enough or the nutritional value is too low?
- We lack energy for workouts,
- We lack energy in daily activities,
- Workouts become ineffective,
- regeneration is very weak, we feel tired,
- sleep problems appear,
- we lose muscle tissue,
- burning fat may slow down.
First and foremost, it’s important to realise that it’s not enough to take care of pre-workout or post-training meals. What counts is the total diet. The most important will be the supply of calories and macronutrient distribution throughout the day. It will be a matter of secondary distribution of the whole day’s pot for each meal.
Nevertheless, per-workout energy supply is important in terms of achieving the best training effectiveness. While for a typical John, whose goal is to just feel better and drop a few extra pounds, it will be superfluous to worry about head-to-head workouts, but for athletes – including amateurs – well-rounded workouts may be of great importance.
All day on “breakfast and coffee” – or exercising while hungry
You train in the afternoon. You appear at the gym around 4PM. On this day you ate breakfast – ham and tomato sandwiches, you snacked on a banana during the day, and drank some coffee, maybe had a piece of candy. Coffee may effectively kill the feeling of hunger, unfortunately it does not provide energy. In fact, you are exercising on an empty stomach.
You get tired after training for fifteen minutes, you’re only continuing the workout because you’re already there. You lack strength, energy, motivation. You force yourself to do the workout. It does not bring any pleasure. You do not watch the increase in strength, endurance or speed, and even if – these are minor changes. You are getting worse. You do not sleep. Your body does not regenerate properly. You experience severe muscle aches (even after 2-3 weeks of training adaptation) and you feel a lot of fatigue.
If you want to have the strength to work out your full potential and achieve the best results – you need to take care of what and how much you eat. No one is able to effectively train on the proverbial sandwich, banana and coffee eaten all day.
Too rich meal before workout
Another common mistake is to eat too heavy and too much food a short time before the workout.
As a result, we feel heavier when training, our movements are slowed down, we lack comfort, and stomach sensations appear. The body loses energy for digestion instead of effective training.
What and when to eat?
What to eat when, in what amount – depends on the type, duration, time of exercise and individual preferences.
Universal answer for everyone does not exist. Pre-workout meals must be tailored to our needs.
If we have the right amount of time, it’s best to eat a balanced meal – consisting of wholesome protein, complex carbohydrates and fats.
Such a meal can be, for example, brown rice with grilled chicken with tomato salad, rocket salad, cucumber, feta cheese and olives, sprinkled with olive oil.
Another suggestion (breakfast) is oatmeal omelettes (oatmeal + eggs + a small amount of protein), served with peanut butter or coconut milk and fruit.
We can allow ourselves such a meal only when we still have about 2 hours until our workout. This time will allow you to pre-digest the food you eat, empty the stomach, feed the intestines and provide us with energy.
If we work out 60 minutes after the meal, it should be slightly smaller, and at least part of the complex carbohydrates should be replaced by simple carbohydrates, as they will be digested faster and will also provide us with energy faster.
If we have 30 minutes to eat before our workout, the meal should be light, carbohydrates should come mainly from simple sugars. It’s a good idea to eat a meal in liquid or semi-liquid form.
A cocktail made of bananas, berries, protein and coconut milk will be perfect for such a short time before training. We can add a small amount of flakes – for example, millet.
The question of time from eating a meal to exercising is largely individual. There are people who can consume a balanced meal and, after an hour, exercise without discomfort. However, there are also people who have to wait 3-4 hours after eating a meal.
What if you practice really early in the morning?
Take care of the nutritional meal eaten the night before.
In the morning it would be a good idea to drink coffee. If you have at least 30 minutes to work out, I recommend to drink the cocktail mentioned above. You can also check out cooked white rice or millet mash with nourishing and banana or raisins.
In conclusion, properly balanced diet is an indispensable part of training. If we want them to be effective, we cannot forget about nutritional diet.