Contributed By: Meher Manasa
Working out regularly leads to increased carb (carbohydrates) intake. As the body is in need of more energy to finish off the workouts. With the increase in popularity of staying fit and working out, it is also very important to understand how best to fuel the body before a workout.
It is important to start this off by busting a myth that working out on an empty stomach is better. Well, the body needs to be fed and fueled, before you go in for a workout. This ensures that you perform better and not cause any serious muscle damage.
To plan a pre-workout meal you need to keep a few things in mind :
Multiple factors play into deciding a pre-workout meal such as the duration of the workout, type of workout, the intensity of the workout, and so on.
For shorter and higher intensity workouts. The intake of carbs is very essential as carbohydrates are the energy houses of the body and needed for a higher intensity workout. Examples: Bowl of Dal, Bowl of Rice
For almost any workout intake of protein can be associated with higher performance due to better anaerobic reaction in the body with higher protein. Protein also helps in muscle recovery and lean body mass. Ex: Chicken Slices, Fish, Eggs (whites)
Timing of the meal:
It is vital to time a meal pre-workout as the entire meal will be designed around how quicker or later after the meal will one be working out. The Sooner you eat before the workout smaller it should be.
Quantity of the meal:
Meal, if consumed two or three hours prior to the workout should be an elaborate meal with carbs and protein which will give the body enough time to absorb and store energy. While a meal 30-45 minutes prior to workout must be very simple, like a bowl of fresh fruits or just a banana.
It is no brainer that hydrating the body helps in improving the muscle recovery rate along with not dehydrating the body. A dehydrated body cannot workout for longer and can also lead to serious injuries due to a lesser amount of fluids in the body. It is important to hydrate prior to the workout and through the workout as well.
Here are a few examples of a pre-workout meal:
Oatmeal can be consumed early in the morning an hour before hitting the gym as it has enough carbohydrates to get you started with the day and workout.
Rice with Chicken can be a sumptuous meal to consume 2-3 hours before the meal. The meal has lean meat and carbs which is perfect.
Bananas, Yogurt, Energy Bars can be consumed 30-45minutes prior to the workout which is a source of good carbs and enough sugars to get you going!
In conclusion, eat appropriate amounts of food throughout the day and consume enough water and fluids to keep you cool and hydrated. Do not over-consume any one kind of food. Stay fit!