Your pre-workout meal is the most important meal of the day.
Can you guess why?
Think about this, would you go drive your car if it didn’t have enough gas? No, you wouldn’t be able to. The same goes with our bodies, you won’t efficiently get everything out of your workout if you don’t fuel your body prior to putting it under the stress of working out.
What should a pre-workout meal consist of?
Eating a fast-digesting carbohydrate 30-45 min before your workout will provide instant energy. Fast-acting carbohydrates digest quickly and get glucose into the bloodstream quickly to be utilized as energy.
25-30 grams of protein should also be consumed to spike muscle protein synthesis.
Exercise takes a lot of energy and our bodies need that energy from the food we eat. When we haven’t eaten or we are in between meals naturally our blood sugar is going to be lower along with our energy levels. You might notice before lunch or dinner you start to feel tired and have trouble concentrating. When you give your body the proper fuel before a workout your overall performance will be better due to having more energy, focus and it will help increase your recovery rate after a workout as well.
The two main macronutrients we need before a workout are carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of fuel, carbohydrates trigger the release of insulin, which then allows our body to use those carbs for energy.
The amino acids in protein are important for muscle protein synthesis. When we workout small tears form in the muscle that help them grow stronger as they heal. Protein can help start the recovery process sooner.
The reason we also want a fast-acting carbohydrate before a workout is because as the name suggests it is fast to get into our body, which again triggers the release of insulin and gives us energy. A slow-digesting carb will take much longer. Carbohydrates have a glycemic index which means they will either be fast or slow digesting.
An estimate of low to a high glycemic index for carbohydrates is:
Low GI: 1 to 55. Medium GI: 56 to 69. High GI: 70 and higher.
Some examples of fast-acting carbohydrates (high glycemic index) are things like: white rice, potatoes, a bagel, rice cakes.
Slow digesting carbohydrates (low glycemic index) are things like: oats, fruits, and vegetables.