Many beginners often ask a question of what is the right way of eating before a workout. When training for muscle mass, your meal before a workout should contain carbohydrates and proteins and contain a small amount of fats (not more than 3-5 grams).
You shouldn’t eat sooner than two hours prior to working out. It is known that physical activity slows down and even stops digestion, so train on an empty stomach. Besides, a full stomach will not allow you to fully complete all exercises, as you can get acid reflux, nausea and a feeling of low stamina.
Carbohydrates are necessary before training in order to load your body with glycogen, which is necessary for energy production. Proteins will be used by your body as amino acids’ source for working muscles, creating the so called anabolic “premise”. Fats should not be included into your meal prior to working out, because fat slows down stomach emptying and the speed that other substances are digested. Fatty food stays in your stomach longer and can cause discomfort, sluggishness, colic, nausea, and belching.
Types of food that should be eaten before training
Below are some examples of foods that combine proteins and carbs. You can change these up depending on your preferences.
- Fowl (turkey, chicken breast) with whole-meal bread, rice, or pasta
- Non-fatty fish with potatoes
- Non-fatty meat with potatoes or pasta
- Eggs with grains
- Cottage cheese with bread
You shouldn’t eat a lot – just as much as you would during a simple breakfast. If you don’t feel heavy and have a full stomach when you start your workout, then the amount of food was just right. The pre-workout meal should include approximately 20 grams of protein and 40-60 grams of simple carbohydrates.
Protein prior to working out
Protein shakes are digested much faster than regular food, so if you need to gain mass, you can add 20 grams of protein or one portion of gainer one hour prior to training. By the time you start training, amino acids, which are necessary for your muscles, will start actively entering the blood stream.
Eating prior to training when losing weight
Just like when trying to gain muscle mass, you shouldn’t eat less than two hours before working out, but the amount of carbohydrates and proteins is lower – 20 grams and 10-15 grams respectively. Intake only complex carbohydrates (fruits, grains, whole-meal bread, whole-meal pasta, etc). If you don’t eat before training, you won’t be able to reach high intensity level, as your body will not be able to produce the necessary amount of energy.
If you eat a lot or right before working out, you will mainly lose food energy, not fat, during your workout.