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What to Eat Before Exercise a Bodybuilding

Pre-Workout Meal Benefits

A pre-workout meal is a whole foods meal that falls within 3 hours of your workout. When you eat the right foods in the right amounts as you will learn shortly, these nutrients can offer a number of benefits, including:

1) More Energy During Workouts – Filling up your glycogen stores (body’s energy tank) before a workout can help improve your energy levels significantly during a workout. If you have a very low carb diet, an intense workout can turn out to be very difficult to handle because glycogen stores are low. Energy levels are also affected by sleep patterns, when you have the most energy during the day, and hydration to name a few.

2) Protect Your Hard Earned Muscle – When you workout hard, especially with heavy weights, the body is in a catabolic environment, which can break down muscle tissue to use it as energy. A solid pre-workout meal can prevent muscle breakdown and improve energy repair and recovery.

3) Increased Muscle Growth – Eating protein during your workout meal can help slowly release amino acids into your blood stream, which can promote protein synthesis. If you are breaking down muscle and eating enough calories, muscle growth can be improved.

While there are benefits of a pre-workout meal, if you are on a fat loss program, you must budget in the calories of your pre-workout meal.

Some guys will have big pre and post-workout meals without any appreciation for how those extra calories effect their total calorie intake. These guys then wonder why they are not losing any fat!

Whether you are trying to lose fat, or build muscle, having an appreciation for the calorie implications of your pre and post-workout meals can be very helpful for you.

What to eat before exercise

Before exercising it’s important to fuel your body. Only then can you adequately handle the physical stress of lifting weights, playing individual or team sports, or running.

Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source of choice for our bodies to supply us with energy. Fats are second. Proteins are the least effective fuel source of macronutrients. But they’re the most important in muscle recovery and repair AFTER exercise.

Since carbohydrates are the most efficient forms of fuel, they should be your first choice to consume before exercising.

I have two approaches when it comes to pre-workout nutrition:

1) Immediate pre-workout strategies

2) Prepared pre-workout strategies.

I use the immediate approach when exercising within an hour of eating. For example, when fueling up on my way to the gym, or when eating breakfast within an hour of my workout.

Immediate fuel before workouts should be fruits. Fruits are amazing sources of nutrition, energy, carbohydrates, and sugars, all extremely important components to fuel a workout. They are also easy on the stomach, digest easily and should not inhibit exercise performance even if consumed immediately before exercise.

My favorite foods to consume just before exercise are bananas, oranges, apples, grapes, seasonal berries, mangos, pineapple and other fruits. I also use some natural sports drinks like Vega Sport Performance Optimizer. It’s designed to supply your body with sustained energy while reducing inflammation. That speeds up the recovery process, enabling more frequent workouts. Check out the ingredients:

For energy: Green tea, ginseng and yerba mate

For reducing inflammation: ginger root, Devil’s Claw and turmeric

For mental focus and stamina: kombucha, coconut oil, and a host of other natural ingredients.

Pre-workout energy drinks are not required. But the plant extracts they contain elicit an “energy boost” response in your body.

I usually consume my immediate pre-workout nutrition within an hour before exercise, often only 15-30 minutes beforehand. Depending on the nature of my workout, I might also eat more fruit during my workout and drink more Vega Sport Performance Optimizer during my workout. That provides additional calories, sugars, hydration and overall energy.

If you’re headed to a weight training workout, or sports match or competition, keep a banana, apple, orange or bag of dates with you for continued nutrition throughout your exercise. It won’t feel heavy in your stomach but will actually help continue to fuel your body throughout the exercise.

Prepared Pre-Workout Nutrition

If I had a long workout later today, or a competition hours from now (or even tomorrow), I would do my prepared pre-workout nutrition now.

When I know exercise is still many hours away, I fuel up with complex carbohydrates like rice, pasta, potatoes, oats, etc. These carbohydrates are slow digesting and provide sustained energy. That’s why they’re popular carbohydrates for runners, endurance athletes and even bodybuilders.

So suppose it’s 12 noon, and you know you have a workout or sports event scheduled for 6PM. Start fueling up with a variety of dense, heavy carbohydrate foods, protein sources, and good fats (Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids).

Eat large quantities of these carbohydrate foods, supplemented with protein and fats for a more complete meal. Then as you get closer, say around 3pm, take in more nutrition, something a little smaller and less heavy (whatever you desire: a protein bar, a salad, etc.).

Then at about 5 - 5:30PM, pack in the fruit right before exercise. Fruits contain a lot of water which assist in exercise hydration, and digest quickly and easily while providing immediate energy. You’ll be all set for your 6PM soccer match, run, or the weight training session.

Thanks for reading.