Whether you are prepping for an intense workout session or going for a run, your pre-workout meal can make all the difference between a good and a great workout. A pre-workout meal will provide your body with the nutrients that it needs to get through an ass-to-the-grass workout.
Let’s discuss what type of food you should eat before a workout session based on your goals.
What to Eat Before a Workout to Build Muscle?
Muscle is built in the gym, but it grows in the kitchen. To build muscle, you should focus on a pre-workout meal of highly bioavailable protein and fast-digesting carbohydrates. What’s more, this needs to be broken down into two different meals: what you’ll eat three hours before a workout and what you’ll eat right before a workout.
Two-to-Three Hours Before a Muscle-Building Workout
Between two and three hours before a muscle-building workout, you can focus on whole-food protein sources such chicken, beef, pork, fish, eggs, and dairy products. As for carbohydrates, stick with complex carbs such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and oat.
Should You Include Supplements Before a Workout?
Pre-workout supplements can be a great addition to your diet, but they are not necessary. If you decide to take pre-workout supplements, make sure to do your research and talk to a healthcare professional about what is best for you.
Some popular pre-workout supplements include the following:
Caffeine: This is the reason you drink that morning coffee! Caffeine is by far the most popular ingredient in pre-blended pre-workout supplements as it provides a direct mental and physical boost in energy.
Creatine: Creatine is broken down into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the preferred fuel source of your muscle tissue during resistance training. Creatine has been shown to boost performance and support goals of muscle growth and weight loss.
BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids): While there are 20 amino acids, three are of special interest in fitness. Leucine, isoleucine and valine are called BCAAs, and they are three essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesize on its own. They can help reduce workout fatigue while stimulating pre-workout muscle protein synthesis.
Remember that the most important thing when it comes to pre-workout nutrition is to focus on healthy foods. Supplements are just that – supplemental. They should not replace whole food sources of nutrients. When it comes down to it, the best way to get the nutrients your body needs before a workout is by eating real food!