Pre workout nutrition is an important concept, that if neglected can severely diminish and decelerate your fitness goals. For example, you’re about to set off on a long drive, but you’ve only 5 miles left in the tank. So, you’re going to breakdown 5 miles down the road and be left with no option but to roll your car home. Our bodies can be considered in the same way, they run off fuel and without an adequate supply these machines are unable to carry out their desired functions. Therefore, in order to optimise performance you need to supply your body with enough fuel and the correct nutrition.
This article will provide you with information on pre workout nutrition and supplementation that can help you achieve your peak performance.
As many of you weight trainers may already know protein is the body’s main fuel for muscle synthesis and an essential for muscle growth, whereby most post work-out nutrition and supplementation plans suggest the consumption of whey protein for maximal progress. However, research also indicates that the consumption of protein, whey protein in particular, prior to training can also enhance training results.
There are several reasoning’s for this; whey protein is the protein that is most quickly absorbed by muscles, with a high concentration of essential branched chain amino acids, such as leucine. By quickly raising the concentration of amino acids in the blood whey protein creates anabolic signalling effects in the body, which can prevent muscle breakdown during your workout. By not incorporating adequate protein into your pre workout meal, you run the risk of establishing a negative nitrogen balance, which can result in muscle breakdown, increased injury risk and a waste of your valuable time.
But hold up! Protein isn’t just essential for building muscle and body-builders of the world, it is essential to any athlete and any individual taking part in regular physical activity. When broken down amino acids from protein not only aid the body’s physical recovery but after carbohydrates and fat, protein can also be broken down to provide an additional source of energy through a complex metabolic reaction called gluconeogenesis, which is often the case for individuals who maintain a low carb-high protein diet. Therefore, including a good source of protein in your pre workout meal that is light and lean, such as a scoop of Myprotein impact whey protein, can work wonders in a matter of minutes.
2.Carbohydrates and Fat
Carbohydrates and fat are primary sources of energy that are often neglected within pre workout nutrition. Physical performance is highly dependent on an individual’s carbohydrate status, which is solely determined by the total daily intake and the timing of consumption in relation to exercise. Carbohydrates are crucial within the production of energy, they provide us with a combination of simple sugars, including glucose, fructose and galactose, that directly take part in the synthesis of ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). When glucose is unused, it is converted and then stored in the liver as a crucial chemical called glycogen.
This storage of glycogen is the body’s main source of energy used in exercise, especially for workouts including bouts of high intensity and weight training. This is because when the body expends energy and burns calories, the body’s storage of glycogen is immediately accessible and easily released into the blood and muscles where it brakes down to form glucose for muscle activity. Carbohydrates are therefore; an essential component of pre workout nutrition whereby previous studies have shown pre-exercise meals with a high and low glycemic index can sustain carbohydrate availability and maintain glucose blood levels during exercise, enhancing individual performance and recovery during this key time.
When consumed with protein, carbohydrates have also been shown to help maintain amino acid levels in the blood and increase muscle synthesis, whereas diets low in carbohydrate have been linked to an increase in muscle fatigue and an increased risk of injury. Therefore, carbohydrates are critical for any workout, especially if exceeding a time period of 60 minutes or involving periods of high intensity training. Good slow-releasing sources of carbohydrates to consume before a workout include whole grain foods and oats, so don’t forget a scoop of Myprotein instant oats.
Our bodies also use fatty acids derived from dietary fats, which are a major source of energy with 1g of fat providing 9 calories, in comparison to the 4 calories that is provided by 1g of carbohydrate or protein. The metabolism and breakdown of fats is essential for moderate and low intensity exercise, and is especially in greater demand during prolonged aerobic and endurance training. So whether you’re looking to improve your endurance and fitness in the gym or participate in events such as marathons, fats are an important ingredient not to be feared of or forgotten within pre workout nutrition, whereby a combination of carbohydrate and fat can sustain performance within high-intensity activities. Good sources of fat before a workout can be found in foods such as avocados, nuts and peanut butter.
In addition to optimum pre workout nutrition, supplementation can also be an extremely valuable asset to enhance your performance. For example, in those with strength and muscle building goals, supplementation with up to 5g of creatine monohydrate can potentially increase the muscle’s ability to synthesise ATP and delay the onset of fatigue by meeting the body’s increased energy demands.
4. Water- Stay Hydrated
Last but not least, within your pre workout nutrition it is important never to forget to drink plenty of water and make sure that before, after and during your workout your body remains sufficiently hydrated. Water is essential and dehydration can severely affect your performance in the gym, leading to muscle cramping and fatigue.
Take Home Message
Overall, all three macro nutrients are important, with different requirements depending on your type of workout. For example, low intensity workouts tend to favour a higher protein and fat concentration and lower carbohydrate intake. Whereas, for high intensity workouts, carbohydrates are a must have in order to avoid fatigue. Take your pre workout nutrition as seriously as your post workout nutrition, you wouldn’t forget to fill your car with petrol, so don’t forget to fuel your body to complete your physical transformational journey.
Schlabach, G. (1994). Carbohydrate strategies for injury prevention. Journal of athletic training, 29(3), 244.
Burke, L. M., Hawley, J. A., Wong, S. H., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2011). Carbohydrates for training and competition. Journal of Sports Sciences,29(sup1), S17-S27.
Wilson, J., & Wilson, G. J. (2006). Contemporary issues in protein requirements and consumption for resistance trained athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 3(1), 7-27.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.