Caring for food before, during and after physical exercise is of great importance to improve our training quality and body composition. Therefore, if you exercise you will be interested in this article in which you will learn what you should eat before training.
What to eat before training
The convenience or not of eating before training depends a lot on your goal, the time that has passed since your last meal and the composition of it. For example, if the main objective is to lose fat and you can train with enough intensity, the ideal pre-workout meal in most cases is none. On the other hand, if the goal is to gain muscle mass, training on an empty stomach probably won’t bring you much.
If you eat before training, in order to avoid possible gastric and intestinal problems that can reduce performance and compromise sports, it is generally recommended not to eat solid foods in the 3-4 hours before exercise.
But for this generic recommendation, it has been proven that it must be very individualized, considering the uniqueness of each person. Since performance can be improved, even with intakes 30 minutes before sports activity.
Pre-workout food consumption aims to:
- Increase the levels of hepato-muscular glycogen and circulating glucose in the blood – the main energy substrate in a bodybuilding training session.
- Release amino acids – functional unit of proteins – to the bloodstream for availability during training and thus reduce muscle catabolism.
- Prevent insulin resistance and inflammation in the post-exercise recovery phase.
- Optimize post-exercise recovery.
- Low glycemic index
- Presence of lipids
- Resistant starch
- High amounts of fiber
- Consumption immediately before training
It can produce an unwanted effect on performance since we will begin training by digesting even the ingested food. This will not make them available as an energy source for training.
That is why the most recommended carbohydrate source can be pre-digested-hydrolyzed disaccharides or polysaccharides. For example, we can meet the needs of this intake by consuming 20-30gr of carbohydrates, such as a banana or flour from some hydrolyzed cereal – rice, corn or potato maltodextrin.
But if we consume large amounts of carbohydrates throughout the day, the needs decrease. On the other hand, if there is an energy restriction, this intake is more relevant.
Eat protein before training
The pre-workout protein intake aims to release amino acids into the bloodstream, to increase muscle protein synthesis and prevent degradation. If your pre-workout meal is the main meal, that is, breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner, you can make a proportional protein intake to the total amount you should consume per day. For example, if you eat 100gr of protein a day, spread over those 4 meals, it would be 25gr of protein.
If you want to make an exclusive pre-workout meal, you can enter about 30gr of protein. Some whey protein could be used or directly from protein food.
It is important to reduce fat before training since they delay gastric emptying, that is, they slow down digestion. Therefore we should avoid fatty foods or fatty sauces. And if the pre-workout intake is taken 30 minutes before, the fats do not exceed 3-4 g.
There are many supplements to be used before training, but the most useful supplement to increase performance is caffeine. To obtain benefits, 3 to 9 mg/kg of weight is recommended 60 minutes before the training session. Normally in capsules or powders. The dose must be modulated since each person has a specific sensitivity to caffeine.
You can eat before training. It is not prohibited nor is it a contraindication. What is recommended is that such food is thought wisely so as not to have a negative impact on exercise.
We must be careful with the carbohydrates we choose and acquire proteins that help the muscle to work. If we can avoid fats, much better. And if we want to choose a pre-workout supplement, then caffeine is the one indicated.