Pre-Workout Fuel to Get The Most Out of Gym TimeNov 08, 2021
Whether you work out first thing in the morning or sometime later in the day, what you eat before your workout can have a major impact on your performance.
TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT? THAT IS THE QUESTION.
Until a few years ago, the overwhelming consensus among sports nutritionists and trainers was that it was imperative to fuel up before a workout. By fueling up, you would have enough energy to perform at your peak in order to achieve your training goals.
But there is now the trend of working out in a fasted state in order to more quickly burn through glycogen and tap into body fat for a fuel source. Yes, there is research and ample evidence supporting fasted training, just as there is a mountain of research supporting training after eating.
So, which advice is correct? Well, just like diet, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Really, it’s up to you to try both methods out to see what works best for you.
If You Workout in the Morning
For some people who hit the gym or the pavement before the break of dawn, eating and then exercising is like mixing oil and water.
The thought, or previous bad experience, of food sloshing around in your stomach while you’re running or pumping iron, doesn’t sit too well. So you opt for skipping that pre-workout fueling opportunity. Does it make a difference? Yes, no, and maybe.
Some people absolutely, positively must have some form of quick-acting energy before a morning workout. Otherwise, they risk running out of fuel and end up underperforming or even injuring themselves.
What and how much you can tolerate will require a bit of experimentation. If all you can tolerate is liquid, consider water (of course, hydration is vital), tea, coffee, or even a small smoothie or shake. If you have a little more time to digest your food, maybe a half of a banana with a tablespoon of nut butter will do the trick.
No matter what you choose, go for nutrient-rich, high-quality food that is balanced in macronutrients.
If, however, you have found you can work out with great energy without having a pre-workout meal, at the very least make sure you are well hydrated.
Drink plenty of water before and during your workout and then make sure to fuel properly after your workout. Many people find that the caffeine in a cup of coffee or tea helps them to stay focused and energized during their workout.
Again, this is highly individualized and we recommend you experiment to find out what works for you.
If you Work Out in the Late-Day
If your workout time comes at lunch, after work or school, or later in the evening, what you eat in the hours leading up to your gym time can affect your performance.
A workout that comes later in the day will have a better outcome if you have some fuel in the tank. About two hours before your workout, you should have a meal or snack that will fill you up and provide you with enough energy for an effective session.
Here are some of our favorite pre-workout snacks:
- 2 Tbsp. almond butter and fruit (in-season)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk + 2 scoops collagen protein powder (we love Vital Protein and Bulletproof) + 1 Tbsp. freshly ground flax seed + cinnamon
- 2 pasture-raised eggs + 1/2 avocado
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with berries and chia seeds
- Cucumbers with 3 Tbsp. hummus (check out our Hummus recipe)
- 1 packet nut butter, such as FBomb macadamia nut butter, Justin’s, Wild Friends, and Rx Bar
- 1 energy bar, such as Lara, Kind, Zing, Rx, Bulletproof, 88 Acres
- Smoothie: 1 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1/2 cup berries+ 1/2 frozen banana + 1 Tbsp. freshly ground flax seed + 1 cup baby spinach + 1 scoop collagen protein powder
Try it out today and see if it makes a difference in your workout.
We’d love to hear from you. Do you prefer to work out after eating or in a fasted state?
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