There are countless diets, meal plans, and online forums that will attest to having the best pre-workout meal and approach to healthy eating. It’s no surprise why so many aspiring beginner gym-goers don’t know what to trust and treat as the most reliable advice. As a result, most people mix and match different features from whatever they find on fitness magazines and influencers’ suggestions. Sometimes, it can be something much worse, like strictly stuffing themselves with carbs because of its association with energy provisions.
However, when it comes to fueling your workouts with an optimal meal before heading to the gym, it’s all about understanding what macronutrients to focus on and what role they play in preparing your body for exercise. So, before you snack on some protein bars or start the day with your usual, hearty breakfast meal, here’s what you should include in your meal preparation to maximize the work you put inside the gym.
Carbs Provide You with Energy but Don’t Overdo It
Of course, backpedaling on that previous comment about carbohydrates, there’s no denying that carbs play the essential role of giving you the energy to output the most volume during your workout sessions. However, you don’t want to consume too many carbs before your scheduled exercise because those extras aren’t going anywhere apart from unnecessary calories in your diet. Plus, most traditional breakfast options offer too much sugar, which is something you want to avoid.
- You Can Never Go Wrong with Whole Oats: For starters, an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates is giving yourself some good old-fashioned bowl of whole oats, which is the perfect base for almost any other easy recipe. And if you ever get tired of eating out of a bowl, you could try different variations like no-bake oatmeal cookies mixed with your favorite protein powder. The possibilities are endless, and even if you’re not that big a fan of oatmeal, there are plenty of whole-grain options out there like quinoa, corn, and rice, to name a few.
- Add Some Fruits and Vegetables to the Mix: Likewise, you don’t want to strictly source all of your carbs from whole grains like oatmeal alone because the body prefers a mix of different food that offer unique vitamins and minerals. So, don’t shy away from adding fruits and vegetables to make your pre-workout meal look a lot more scrumptious, like a sweet potato or some sliced bananas on the side. Plus, it helps keep your food exciting and far from repetitive.
Balance Your Protein and Fat to Get into that Anabolic State
Other than your daily dose of healthy carbohydrates, an optimal balance of protein and fat plays a crucial role in your pre-workout meal because these two macronutrients help you get into that anabolic state of repairing and building muscles during your training session. So, instead of looking for all the varied sources of protein you can pack into a single pre-workout meal, it’s much better to find a balance with fat because feeling too full prevents you from giving your all.
- Lean Meats and Fish Pack a Good Punch: When selecting where to get your protein from, lean meats and fish always pack a good punch in that department, not to mention all the other healthy micronutrients you also receive. So, whether you’re the person who enjoys seasoned chicken breast or an early serving of salmon, try to attain a 0.5 g serving of protein per 1 kg of bodyweight. And if you ever run out of meal ideas, you could try out how Jacob Elordi stays ripped for his acting roles.
- A Pre-workout Protein Shake on the Go: In the same fashion, protein shakes are never going out of style and are the perfect on-the-go meal if you’re under a time constraint. And if you sprinkle in a bit of peanut butter and greek yogurt for texture and much-need fat, it helps complete the macronutrient needs for the pre-workout. Plus, we all have our favorite choice of berries and sweeteners to juggle the flavor of the shake.
But What if You Prefer Training on an Empty Stomach?
Now, some people strongly prefer working out in a fasted state because it’s what they’ve grown used to or can’t muster up the appetite to eat something so early in the morning due to being the only time available. And while it may seem counterproductive on paper, some gym-goers respond better to training on an empty stomach, which is perfectly normal if that’s the case. Just remember to pay close attention to your intra-workout meals to help keep the body in optimal condition during your routine.
Treat Your Pre-workout Meals Like You Would Your Strength Training
Pre-workout meals deserve the same amount of effort and detail-orientedness as you would with your heavy-lifting and strength training because it’s the real first step to getting your body into the flow. Apart from staying lean and cutting down weight more effectively, your next visit to the dental clinic will be stellar.
Your digestive health will be a lot happier and more satisfied if you eat more optimal pre-workout meals according to your macronutrient needs.