Pre-Workout Nutrition: 5 Tips for to Maximize Your Workouts
While everyone is talking about post-workout recovery and how many hours of quality shut-eye you should get every night in order to boost your fitness results, why not be the purple cow of the bunch (unique, basically) and shift your focus on the importance of pre-workout nutrition instead? By all means, keep eating healthy and sleeping properly after you’re done working out, but don’t think that what you do prior to training doesn’t matter.
Out of all the healthy pre-workout rituals you should uphold on a daily basis, quality nutrition should be your no.1 priority. Eat healthy before you hit the gym, and you will maximize your results. Eat poorly or nothing at all, and you will hinder your performance. Let’s take a deeper look at the five pre-workout nutrition tips that will help you maximize every training session.
It all starts with proper hydration
Do you know that your body is 65% water? That’s right and unfortunately, it’s up to you to maintain your ideal water levels in order to allow the body to function properly and support all healthy bodily processes. In a nutshell, every process in your body uses water, hence the need for constant hydration throughout the day.
Now, while you don’t need to keep a water jug at your side 24/7, you should be sipping fresh aqua throughout the day, and especially as you’re approaching your scheduled training session. Adequate hydration means increased energy levels, proper cell functioning, better muscle contractions, better reaction time, better recovery, better everything. So be sure to rehydrate your body throughout the day and don’t just gulp down on a whole bottle right before your workout – it doesn’t work that way.
Over to quality carbs
Out of all the healthy New Year’s resolutions you should make, the decision to improve your eating habits should be your no.1 priority. Concretely, you should focus on quality carb intake prior to working out. Yes, protein plays a role here as well, and we will cover it later on, but it’s important to focus on the most powerful energy source first.
Quite simply, your body uses carbs to convert it into glucose, which is the fuel source used for all healthy processes – including proper brain functioning and the creation of ATP, better known as energy. Fail to carb-up properly, and you will hinder your performance in training and thus reduce your muscle or endurance-building potential. If you want to maximize your workout, you need a steady fuel source, so make sure to have a hearty pre-workout meal an hour before you hit the gym. This meal will preferably be rich with slow-digesting carbs such as oats, sweet potatoes and other starchy carbs, or legumes.
Include energizing supplements into the mix
No, you don’t need to use supplements to reach your true potential in training, but they are handy and they can make your life a lot easier. There is no need to exclude them from your fitness regime, seeing as how a healthy muscle building supplement can help you complement and complete your nutrition when you’re short on time, or energy. Don’t be fooled by sly advertisements, though, and only look for the products with a proven track record and a sizable pool of research behind them.
Particularly, pre-workout supplements are one of those fitness “aids” that simply work, and most importantly, they can get you out of a slump in a matter of minutes and help you have an amazing workout. While you shouldn’t rely on a pre-workout every single time, there is no reason not to use it when you’re feeling sluggish or if you have a particularly difficult training session ahead.
Don’t forget about protein
Whether you take it in a powder form (one of the supplements that actually work), or if you take it in through proper nutrition alone, protein should be the staple of a fitness diet plan. More importantly for the topic at hand, it should have a place in your pre-workout routine.
It’s always a good idea to have a decent amount of protein in your body before you hit the gym, as it will help with muscle-protein synthesis on the spot, prevent excess muscle damage and support the recovery process immediately after your workout. If your training session is particularly grueling, be sure to have allocated a portion of your daily protein intake to your pre-workout meal.
A case for intra-workout nutrition
On a last note, there is a need to emphasize the importance of intra-workout nutrition for serious athletes. As you’re lifting weights or doing your HIIT routine, your body is using up the glycogen stored in your liver. Even though you might have plenty of glycogen in reserve, your body will still expend it with no problem at all if you’re training hard enough.
This can lead to premature fatigue and excess muscle breakdown. You can easily counteract this process by simply sipping on an energy drink throughout your workout. Be sure to choose a quality sports drink with fast-digesting carbs in order to get that much-needed pick-me-up right there on the spot.
Nutrition is one of the primary drivers of muscle growth, and progress in general. No matter your long-term goal in the fitness world, you should emphasize pre-workout nutrition in your diet plan if you want to maximize every workout, and take your fitness game to the next level.