Have you experienced the benefits of eating a meal pre-workout? This often-overlooked action can significantly affect the performance, power, and longevity of your next training day or competition. We've taken the time to highlight some important things you should know about eating before your next endurance or strength-training day. So you can fuel your performance and stay on top of your game!
1. Protein loaded snacks for strength training
We all know the importance of strength training, even if we actively choose not to participate in it. However, getting the right nutrition in your body before you start any heavy exercises can make a significant difference in the way your body reacts.
For anabolic exercises, such as strength training, the body is fueled by a delicate balance of carbohydrates and proteins. Your body needs these specific fuels to target muscles, increasing the mass and tone of the muscle.
As you push your body with anabolic exercises, muscle fibers tear and become damaged in the process.
To repair these muscle tears, and help rebuild bigger, stronger fibers, an adequate amount of amino acids is needed in your diet. This is where protein-rich meals before training can come into play.
Including some protein in your pre-workout ritual means that your body has all the necessary amino acids available to regenerate muscles. Providing you with the best results possible.
Along with the proper protein intake, getting an adequate amount of carbohydrates ensures that any energy being expelled during your strength training comes from the glycogen stores in your liver and muscles.
This guarantees that your body is producing energy from the right sources, not from alternatives such as your protein stores.
2. Fuel on carbohydrates for endurance training
Carbohydrate-rich meals and snacks are the best fuel to support your endurance exercises because of the glycogen reserves that we discussed above.
If you are focused on any endurance-based activities for your next training day, carefully consider the ratio of carbohydrates to proteins in your pre-exercise regime.
A great way to get the fuel your body needs for endurance activities is to aim for a 4:1 Carbohydrate to protein ratio. This ensures that your body is fueled with enough sugars to keep your body performing at maximum efficiency for extended periods.
According to research from the Nutrients Journal, adequate carbohydrate intake results in optimal endurance sports performance while delaying fatigue time.
This means you can train longer, more complex, and do it all again the next day. Another beneficial macronutrient to focus on in your meal/snacks, pre-exercise, is fats.
More importantly, getting the right kind of fats! This second part is emphasized for importance.
Before you go running to McDonald's to fatten up, just know that it doesn't fall into this category.
Fats are another vital fuel source for the body. Incorporating them into your diet is especially helpful for endurance training/exercises.
Filling your diet with enough healthy fats could help aid in joint, soft tissue, and multiple other forms of inflammation, according to the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine.
Along with injury prevention, getting the right amount of fats in your diet enables your body to turn them into energy after glucose reserves have been exhausted.
When consuming these fats, we can't stress the importance of indulging in healthy fats enough. These are typically provided by nature in plant-based foods but are occasionally found in some surprising places.
Some healthy fat choices are avocados, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and crickets!
Hint: Näak's Ultra Energy bars are developed with a specific 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio so that you never run out of energy on those long endurance training days.
3. What should you eat before a workout?
Before we dive into what foods you should eat, it's important to point out when you should eat.
Typically, a 2-hour window can provide your body with enough time to digest a small meal. Leaving you to feel energized and ready to train but not bloated and uncomfortable.
The closer you get to exercising, the smaller your portion sizes should be, respectively.
This takes some testing, as each body runs on its own agenda. What's suitable for some might not be good for others.
Take some time to play with portion sizes, carbohydrates to protein ratios, and see what feels best for your body!
We've put together a small list of great ingredients you can use for your next snack, mix and match them to find out which foods work best for you!
Healthy High-Carb Foods:
· Sprouted grain toast
Healthy High-Protein Foods:
· Hard-boiled eggs
· Raw nuts and seeds
· Cottage cheese
· Nut butters
With a combination of these foods, there are sure to be some fantastic pre-training snacks that you can make for easy nutrition and optimal training days. To learn more about the food that fuels our performance, make sure to read all of the other Nutrition Articles that the Näak team has put together!