Bodybuilding 4 MIN READ 18686 VIEWS April 28, 2017

Pre Workout Food – Facts and Meal Timing

Written By Saurabh Monga

Pre Workout Food

Ready to workout? It's time to fuel your workout with the best pre-workout food. And for that, understanding the pre-workout meal timing is very important.

So, let’s start with – 

What is Pre-workout Food and How To Choose A Pre-workout Meal?

Most of us are stuck up with the notion that training empty stomach burns more fat. That is right because you blow through your glycogen for an hour, and then your body starts utilizing the fat store. What we don’t know or overlook is the fact that our body also burns muscle tissues in the process. Just so as to avoid this, and have the best result for your effort, you need to make sure that you have a little something. Generally, pre-workout food is supposed to be really light and relatively low in fat and fiber so that it is easily digestible. The trick is to lessen the intake with lesser time. Lesser the pre-workout food calorie, lesser time it takes to digest before you start working out. A couple of light snacks consisting of lesser than 300 calories is a perfect pre-workout meal option.

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Why Is Pre-Workout Food Required?

When you are working out, the results of those workouts depend largely on how intense your training is. Just so as to train hard and intensely, you need to: 

  • Have the energy which will sustain you through the workout. This energy will come from the pre-workout food that you eat.
  • Drink adequate fluids that are required to maintain a high level of energy while you workout.
  • Consume small snacks approximately one hour before your workout. It helps you sustain your level of blood sugar.

Pre-Workout food in general consists of ‘slow-burning’ complex carbs such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread etc. As they are the major source of energy in your body, 65-70% of total calories should be from carbs. Complex carbs need longer time to turn to glucose, in turn keeping the level of your blood sugar consistent and preventing you from having an energy crash while you are working out.

Top 10 Pre-Workout Food Options

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List of Top-10 best pre-workout food which are within 300 calorie count. Just remember to take them within limit.

  1. Lentils: 290 calories, 40g carbs, 18g protein, 1 g fat
  2. Pasta: 87 calories, 19g carbs, 4g protein, 0.5 g fat
  3. Almonds (12 nos): 83 calories, 3g carbs, 3g protein, 7g fat
  4. Oatmeal: 145 calories, 25g carbs, 6g protein, 2g fat
  5. Energy Bars: (Approx) 260 calories, 46g carbs, 8g protein, 5g fat
  6. Yogurt (8 ounces low-fat plain): 130 calories, 15g carbs, 11g protein, 3g fat
  7. Trail mix (half cup nuts with seeds & dried-fruit): 300 calories, 26g carbs, 10g protein, 18g fat
  8. Banana (and other fruits): 1 banana contains- 105 calories, 27g carbs, 1g protein, 0.5 g fat
  9. Carbohydrate Energy gels( 1 pc): 110 calories, 26g carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat
  10. Chocolates (1 snack sized bar-don’t get too happy): 70 calories, 9g carbs, 1g protein, 3g fat

Pre-Workout Meal Timing

The meals with different calorie content take different time to digest. First things first, make sure you are properly hydrated before you hit the gym. Drinking water at the right time is very important. In addition to assuring that you are properly hydrated by having 20 ounces of water an hour before working out, you should also have the adequate meal which can be digested in the desired time frame. If you are working out early in the morning, drink some water immediately after rising. As an afterthought, do assure that you steadily keep drinking water throughout the day if you thought otherwise.
Generally, pre-workout meals should be taken at least 45 minutes before you start your workout. It is done so as to assure that your food has time to well digest. Actually, the calorie content in your meals is directly proportional to the gap between the meal and workout. A big meal with calorie content over 1000 takes almost three to four hours to digest, a smaller meal of 600 calories will take a couple of hours. Similarly, a snack worth 300 calories will only take an hour to digest. It is advisable to take snacks which are digestible within an hour so that you are ready and packing energy in a jiffy.

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Specific Pre-workout Food For Specific Gender?

It is not necessary to have a gender specific diet. However, sizes are important. It is absolutely necessary to ingest 0.1 g of protein and 0.2 g of carbs per pound of body weight. Thus, a normal130-poundd woman should consume 13 g of protein and 26 g of carbs per Pre-Workout meal, when it comes to strength training. In general, 10-15 g of protein and 25-30g of carbs are fit for most women.

What Is Your Pre-workout Goal?

One important question you should always ask yourself while you workout is your goal. What are you steadfastly aiming at? Is it weight loss or is it muscle gain? It becomes a bit tricky when it comes to weight loss. This is because the more carbs you consume prior workout, you are more likely to burn carbs rather than fat. So it is very important to ideate the ratio of carbs to protein per every pre-workout meal. If your goal is fat loss, follow the ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 of carbs: protein in your pre-workout food. Dietary fats take the longest to digest, thus stay away from the food containing dietary fats. A moderate amount of meat or low-fat dairy sources works just fine.
When your goal is to gain muscles, the ideal thing is to have a plenty of glycogen in your meal. Glycogen in muscles and a lot of glucose and amino acids in your bloodstream enables the process of anabolic muscle building. You should also stabilize your ratio to 2:1 or 3:1 of carbs: protein when you are trying to gain muscles. Always remember to eat within two hours of workout. Light yogurt works well as a good combination of carbs and protein. Simply stated, you need to eat a little more if you need to gain muscles.

Enjoy Your Workout!

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