A short while ago, a friend asked what would be a good pre workout meal choice, so I felt compelled to give my thoughts in a simplified article that many people could benefit from.
Pre workout nutrition can be as different as everyone is, but a few guidelines I like to follow are below, especially for Endurance weight lifting such as Kettlebell sport.
- A lot of food in your digestive system is NOT beneficial when you train. It is not in your muscles for energy yet, and Digestion happens while the PARASYMATHETIC nervous system is in control. When we train we are dominantly using the SYMPATHETIC nervous system (commonly known as fight, flight or flee) Blood flow is to the body and limbs not the digestive system when we are training, therefore we can feel nauseous and sluggish with a bolus of food in our stomach and digestive tract. Training and stress interrupts the normal pattern of digestion. Trust me throwing up your chipotle burrito isn’t only going to irritate your training partners, but its a waste of $10 !!!
- It depends on what types of food YOU can handle Experience/ hormonal profile/ etc, all affect how you respond to nutrients. TALL, thin people (ectomorphs) usually can handle more carbohydrates while most of us should have less carbohydrates and rely on protein, balanced fats and veggies with a small bit of fruit such as berries in their day leading up to training. Then, post workout, starchy carbs can be ingested when the muscles are depleted of glycogen and sensitive to insulin once blood sugar levels have risen due to the food intake. I’m not talking about a chatty, rest laden workout. I’m talking a big full body workout or a 50-60 sled pushes type of butt buster. Speaking of fat, it doesn’t make you fat, the same as broccoli doesn’t make you turn green and fluffy. On the other hand, a jar of peanut butter each day may fatten you up though…. it’s all about moderation! I don’t tend to eat a lot of fat post workout as that is when I tend to use a higher carb intake, but you could be different.
- Train with purpose and eat with awareness. I’ve been talking about visualization a lot lately . Everything starts in the mind. If you want to snatch a 106 lb kettlebell or deadlift 405 without hurting your back you have to believe that it will happen and take the steps to MAKE it happen. Perhaps not today, but it will. If you are negative it may never happen. The same goes for food and nutrition. If you believe you will forever stay fat then guess what? You probably will. You’ll add negativity to your life and it breeds extra stress. Use each step in eating and training for your goal with vigor and purpose. The more consistent you are the better. If you step off the wagon for a chocolate donut, remember you can get right back on. Missing a meal or a training session isn’t the end of the world. Stop being so stressed about it.
- Speaking of Chocolate donuts. Dont believe everything you see about nutrition on the internet. (I know, I know, youre reading this on the internet….) Many of those websites or hashtags are made just for your attention/ marketability and to sell products or clothes. Most people that eat junk food pre workout and through the day everyday are Athletes WITHOUT a pre-diabetic condition and aren’t looking to lose 50-60 lbs to get off of a blood pressure medicine…… I’m not saying not to enjoy foods, but there is a time and a place for certain foods. Nutrient dense vitamin and mineral food can heal and balance the endocrine system and the nervous system. They provide the building blocks for hormones and can make you a happier more productive person. These are not found in abundance in processed junk food. Also this can set people up for all sorts of eating imbalances when their hard training stops. Injuries can occur and the mind is still hooked on high levels of sugar which (for some) can be as strong as the addiction to nicotine, etc. The thought you should focus on is, are you going for total body mental and physical health or a short term goal such as competition performance or aesthetics?
1-2 Hour pre workout nutrition I like to include foods that will be absorbed before training commences. Whole food sources of protein such as chicken and beef take possibly hours to digest leaving them in the stomach and digestive tract while you train. While I’d rather eat whole foods this, is when I use a vegetarian or whey protein shake or eggs, with and essential fatty acid oil blend and possibly some or semi fast absorbing carbohydrate source. This will allow liver glycogen filling and stable blood sugar levels. Unless you can handle super high carb intake such as ectomorphs or people on glycogen disposal drugs , don’t do high sugar before training or you may find the blood sugar crash makes you very tired before training . Most people aren’t tuned to their bodies to handle this type of glucose timing.
Here are a few meals that work well for the majority of people . (With exception of the thin carboholics)
A) 1-4 egg omelet with spinach/ onion thin avocado slices ,etc plus perhaps more egg whites if you need more protein. Apple/ Pineapple slices or 1/2 cup of cooked oats or rice cereal.
b) Greek yogurt, berries, teaspoon or two of Udos Choice 3-6-9 blend essential oil 1 grapefruit or 1 cup 50/50 diluted tart cherry juice with water
c) 1-1.5 scoop whey protein 2-3 slices of ezekial toast and some butter and drizzle of honey.
D) *** 10-15 grams of BCAA or EAA (amino acids) for people who are intermittently fasting and training on an empty stomach.
*** This is a tactic recommended by the intermittent fasting style known as Leans Gains. They recommend a 16/8 fast to eating window. In my opinion it works very well IF you are experienced with how your body reacts to food and training. I do not recommend this for people just starting to eat better and train.
Here is a Leans Gains Quick Guide from their site if you would like to know more. https://leangains.com/the-leangains-guide/
SUPPLEMENTS ( Lets save this for another article but perhaps 3-5 g creatine, possible beta alanine and BCAA or EAA essential amino acids)
This information should help most people have a stable energy during their workout . Remember to refuel what you have lost when you are finished. Hard training with intervals and higher heart rates coupled with full body movements takes a lot of muscular energy and nervous system demands. This is when you will be able to take in starchy and possibly higher sugar carbs when your brain/ liver and muscle tissues are sensitive to insulin .
In a nutshell, I hope this helps.
Swing This Kettlebell and Strength
Check out this 3-4 day Program for FAT LOSS and Muscle Building with Kettlebell or Kettlebell Sport below…
Here are a few interesting websites and studies to help you as well.