By understanding the fundamentals of pre-workout nutrition, you can ensure top performance and ideal muscle recovery, so you get the gains you deserve. Let’s explore carbohydrates and protein in more detail.
Why do you need carbohydrates before training?
Carbohydrates serve to give you that all-important energy source to fuel whatever kind of activity you’re doing, such as strength training, endurance, team sports or any other physically demanding activity.
When you cut your carbohydrates short, you may notice decreased workout performance due to increased fatigue, perception of effort and potential burnout. Depleting your glucose and glycogen stores will give this effect and may even lead to muscle protein breakdown.
Follow this protocol to make sure your muscles are topped up with carbohydrates before every workout:
Keep in mind potential gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort when eating too close to training or eating new foods. If you have a competition coming up, it is wise to avoid any new dietary approaches.
Short, high-intensity activities:
Include simple carbohydrates to help fuel you.
Some examples include:
- Dairy, such as milk or yoghurt
- Fruit, such as bananas or apples
- Refined grains, such as cereal or white rice
- Sugar, such as honey or table sugar
Think of simple carbohydrates as giving you QUICK energy!
Longer, moderate-intensity activities:
Have a mix of simple and complex carbohydrates with protein.
Some examples of complex carbohydrates include
- Legumes and starchy vegetables like beans and potatoes
- Whole grains like oats and pasta
- Fibre-rich sources like whole fruits or vegetables
Remember, the more active you are, the longer you train and the higher the intensity is, the more carbohydrates you may require.
Why do you need protein before training?
Protein can serve as a source of energy and help to keep your muscles fueled when you are doing a prolonged activity such as endurance training. Note that it is not your body’s number one fuel source, but it can be used in small amounts when you’re exercising for a long time.
Another important function of protein is to help support muscle recovery by ‘priming’ your muscles.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re giving your hard-working muscles protein after you train!
What type of protein should you use?
Choose complete high-quality sources such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and soy products. Plant-based sources are generally seen as incomplete and have a lower amount of protein. However, if you combine your plant foods, you can help to ensure it’s a complete protein.
Using a whey protein is an easy way to get your protein needs met. Whey Protein generally peaks in the body in about 1 hr after consumption; it is faster absorbing and digesting than casein, which is perfect for muscle recovery!
Protein Recommendations (Banned Substance Tested)
Pre-Workout Recommendations (Banned Substance Tested)
Always speak to your health practitioner before undertaking a new supplement or exercise regime. Views expressed are of Optimum Nutrition.