Pre-workout Nutrition tips

A good way to think about food is to remember it’s your body’s fuel. Like a car running on fuel, if your body is running on empty, it doesn’t operate well. The way you fuel your body affects your performance and also your mood! We’ve all been in the situation when we realised we didn’t eat properly and therefore suffered throughout our workout. We felt irritated, impatient, dizzy, close to fainting (hitting the wall). On the other hand if we have eaten a big meal just before the workout we could experience belly pain, stitches, heavy body.

PRE WORKOUT TIPS

  • Stay hydrated

Make sure you’re well hydrated by drinking lots of water in the 12 hours before your exercise. Try to avoid drinking big quantities directly before your session. I personally only sip water last 1-2 hours immediately before more intense exercise, otherwise I suffer with stitch.

  • Don’t eat too much directly before the workout

Don’t eat large volumes of food for at least two hours before exercise (perhaps even three to four hours before if you’re especially prone to stitches).

  • Fuel your body properly

Fuelling your body with the right nutrients prior to exercise will give you the energy and strength you need to perform better. Each macronutrient has a specific role before a workout. However, the ratio in which you need to consume them varies by the individual and type of exercise.

Which type of macronutrient shall I concentrate on?

Pre-workout Nutrition tipsCARBOHYDRATES

Carbs are vital during shorter high-intensity exercise when the body cannot process enough oxygen to meet its needs. Carbs keep the brain and nervous system functioning—When blood glucose runs low, you become irritable, disoriented, and lethargic, and you may be incapable of concentrating or performing even simple tasks.

Carbs are changed in your body to glucose that can be used immediately as fuel, or can be sent to the liver and muscles and stored as glycogen. As these limited stores become depleted, the body is forced to use other stores of energy (fat and protein). If you consume excess amounts of carbs, your body converts and stores them as body fat. If you want to loose fat, make sure your carbs intake is lower and you perform low-mid intensity exercise for a longer time.

On the other hand, if you are planning a marathon or other endurance activity, you want to maximise glycogen stores (carb loading). This involves consuming a high-carb diet for 1–7 days prior to the event.

PROTEIN

Protein provides energy in late stages of prolonged exercise. When muscle glycogen stores fall, as commonly occurs in the latter stages of endurance activities, the body breaks down amino acids found in skeletal muscle protein into glucose. Protein is used to build, maintain, and repair body tissues, as well as to synthesise important enzymes and hormones. Eating protein prior to exercise has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis (creating muscle mass), increased strength and lean body mass, increased muscle performance.

FAT

Fat is the source of fuel for longer and moderate-to-low-intensity exercise. It provides a concentrated source of energy (9 calories per gram of fat versus 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate or protein). Generally, as the duration or time spent exercising increases, intensity decreases (more oxygen is available to cells), and fat is the more important fuel source. Stored carbohydrate (muscle and liver glycogen) are subsequently used at a slower rate, thereby delaying the onset of fatigue and prolonging the activity.

SUMMARY

Carbs help maximise glycogen stores for high-intensity exercise, while fat helps fuel your body for longer, less intense workouts. Meanwhile, protein improves muscle protein synthesis and aids recovery.

PRE-WORKOUT EXAMPLES

QUICK SNACKS

  • Bananas – quick source of energy, especially ripe once. They are packed with carbs and potassium which supports nerve and muscle function.
  • Dried fruits – quick source of energy, great pre-workout snack! Choose from dried bananas, apricots, figs, pineapple, you can also add these to your porridge.

SMALL MEALS