It’s 2019! And with the advent of the New Year, comes the rush of new people into gyms, parks and roads, all going about trying to meet their fitness goals. New shoes, new gym clothes, the whole shebang. So why not try new methods of being effective while exercising?If you are a gym goer,pre workout foods are important in your daily routine.
Everybody knows the importance of a post-workout meal.Read our article on TOP 5 POST WORKOUT FOODS for a better diet plan. And almost everybody thinks of protein and creatine and other supplements when they think of a post-workout meal. And everybody is ready to spend their hard earned money too.
But without the right pre-workout meal, all those post-workout products will undeniably go to waste, and you’ll be literally throwing your money down the drain.
Why is a pre-workout meal important?
Our body gets energy from glucose, which is the end product of glycogen break down through a process known as glycogenolysis. It happens in the liver and muscles. And where do we get glycogen from? That’s right, from the food we eat!
So, after we eat a meal, our body breaks down all the complex sugars into simple sugars and stores them as glycogen in our liver and muscles, for instant energy while doing something intensive. But if we don’t give our body the opportunity to store up on glycogen, then where will it get the energy from? Bingo! From the reserves in our liver and muscles. So, first to go are the reserves in the liver. Next hit are the reserves in our muscles. This is opposite to what we want, because once the muscle glycogen reserves are hit, the muscle mass actually goes down instead of up.
So, even if you eat right after your workout, it’s also important to eat right before your workout to see the gains and not lose muscle mass in spite of thinking that you’re doing everything right. There has been a study published that says that the post-workout meal is only important if there is no pre-workout meal, and if you eat right before the workout, then a post-workout meal is not that important. That doesn’t mean that you should not eat a post-workout meal. It just means that if you meet the calorie requirements for the day, you’re good to go.
What should you eat before the workout?
You need something that provides instant energy and is easily broken down by the body. So, out goes fats. Yeah, the doughnut isn’t really that good for you as you think. Protein also takes a back seat, because it is difficult to break down. What’s left? Good ol’ carbs!
Carbohydrates use less oxygen per molecule to be broken down than fats and proteins, and so are the ideal source of energy just before a workout. Proteins and fats can be taken too, but you’ll feel tired and exhausted sooner than eating carbs because they utilize more oxygen to be broken down. Eating carbs before a workout means that you can work out longer, and strain your muscles more and gain more muscle mass.
Working out on a full stomach can cause muscle cramps, nausea and lethargy. But that is if you work out on a full stomach. Muscle cramps happen here because blood gets diverted to the digestive system for digestion rather than the muscles, and the shortage of blood causes cramps. Not eating before a workout can make you feel dizzy, weak or sluggish.
Eat a couple of hours before working out, giving your body time to digest and absorb the nutrients, and you’re golden.
Without further ado, let’s get to it!
1.A cup of rice with lean meat or veggies
Rice is just starch and lean meat/veggies are mainly proteins and essential vitamins and minerals. Rice is mainly starch, and starch being a complex sugar that is easily broken down to glucose, gives a ready source of energy and gives a massive boost to exercise more to burn fat and gain muscle mass.
Lean meat is an excellent source of proteins and it will give you the energy to push further when the glucose stores are low. Lean meat is also an excellent source of iron, so it is useful in providing the necessary oxygen to the muscles. Vegetables like potatoes and kidney beans are a good alternative to lean meat for the vegetarians. Potatoes are rich in carbs and fiber, thereby giving you a good source of energy. Kidney beans are an excellent source of proteins, which helps in muscle recovery post your workout.
This meal can be eaten 2-3 hours before a workout, as it is slightly heavy and needs time to be broken down into simple by-products of digestion like glucose and amino acids. This will provide you with energy throughout the workout, and not make you rely on the muscle reserves for energy.
Oranges are an excellent source of simple carbs like fructose, which are easily digested by the body to produce energy. You can eat it just before your workout to provide you with a boost of energy to kick-start your workout. Oranges are also filled with vitamin C and essential minerals and electrolytes, which help you in your workout routine and ensure that you get the best results. Vitamin C also helps to repair the collagen tissue that is wore down during a workout.
You can eat an orange roughly half an hour before a workout to allow your body to digest it and then you can start your workout. It is good to have oranges with a heavy meal, as described above.
3.Banana with peanut butter and honey
Bananas are excellent sources of simple sugars, and they give you an immediate boost of energy before your workout. They also contain potassium, dietary fiber, vitamins A and C. These are all very good to maintain energy during a workout and help in muscle recovery post a workout.
Peanut butter is an excellent source of proteins and fats, which help in muscle gain and provide a continuous source of energy throughout the workout. Potassium obtained through the bananas also help to prevent cramping. Honey is an excellent source of glucose, with an extremely high glycaemic index. This means that honey will provide a constant source of energy throughout the workout as it is easily digestible and this will improve the intensity of the workout, giving you more energy to tackle through the more intensive exercises.
You can eat this meal about an hour before your workout, giving 3-4 hours gap after your last meal.
4.Oats and raisins
Raisins are dried grapes. Grapes have a high glycaemic index, and give as much glucose as does honey when it is digested. This ensures a constant flow of energy to your body. Raisins have the added advantage of not being filled with water, unlike grapes.
The absence of water doesn’t make you feel like your stomach is full, and it makes space for the water that you’re going to drink during the workout. Oats are filled with carbs and fiber, making it an ideal pre-workout snack as it gives a slow and steady release of glucose into your blood, providing you with energy and it also makes you feel full without the feeling of flatulence that accompanies many filling foods. It doesn’t make you feel bloated while making you feel full at the same time.
A meal of oats and raisins can be had about an hour before you work out, and you can snack on raisins throughout the workout if you feel tired early on in.
I always advertise natural over anything artificial, and this holds good for supplements too. But the trend nowadays is that everybody wants instant results and nobody is willing to put in the hard work to make a simple meal. And naturally, the pharmaceutical companies cash in on them. So, here we have pre-workout supplements.
Common supplements contain carbohydrates(immediate boost of energy), caffeine (increases energy, focus and intensity), amino acids like arginine, citrulline and ornithine (increase adrenaline and blood flow to your muscles by dilating the blood vessels), beetroot juice (it releases nitric oxide which dilates your blood vessels to increase blood flow to your muscles), creatine monohydrate (which helps to build muscle mass and strength over time, but is more effective post a work out) and BCCAs (branched chain amino acids consisting of leucine, isoleucine and valine which help in increasing endurance and reducing post-workout soreness).
While these may be helpful, we get all these from our natural diet itself. And while these supplements that are touted to be great for our workout, studies have found out that they are not all that beneficial, only increasing strength by 4-8% and that too, the most beneficial one was caffeine. Which is available in black coffee, for heaven’s sake! The part that is overlooked by everybody is that supplements are not controlled by the FDA, and may contain high concentrations which could be harmful to your health in the long run (or very short run, depending on how it goes).
My advice would be to not rely on supplements and rely on your usual diet for these products, thereby saving your wallet and you.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Coming to the end of this article, what are the salient points to note? One, pre-workout nutrition is more important than post-workout nutrition. Two, put in some effort and make your meals yourself. Three, do not rely on supplements as they may not be safe.
So what are you waiting for?! Get off your butt and start working out! Make 2019 all about you!