There are many factors that affect the efficiency of your workouts.
These could consist of many factors, including getting the right nutrition, making sure you’re pushing yourself, psychologically setting goals instead of just physical goals, the list can go on.
But what is a very important factor that doesn’t directly involve the action of ‘working out’, is eating.
This post is about the importance of eating before working out and how it actually affects your workout.
Food Gives You Energy
Obviously, food gives you energy and we already knew that. But eating before your workout is especially important because it means your body has now got extra energy specifically for it.
Your body already has energy stored: for moving, breathing, and for your vital organs to work. But for high intensity workouts (where you’re going to be breaking a sweat) your body needs that extra pick-me-up in order to function efficiently when energy levels drop.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eat a whole meal at Nando’s to have enough fuel to keep you going…
This pre-workout food could consist of a handful of peanuts, which will provide you with protein and antioxidants, even a banana will provide you with Potassium which then feeds the body electrolytes and helps muscle function.
Protein-Rich Foods Assist in Muscle Growth
It’s an actual fact that after eating a food rich in protein, protein muscle synthesis protein muscle synthesis can stay at a high level for up to 3 hours.
In English that simply means that after eating some peanuts, your body’s ability to provide your muscles with that protein can be improved for around three hours after that snack. You can get protein from many foods, I just mentioned peanuts as they provide many additional nutrients beneficial to the body.
Muscle growth relies on protein. It is the most essential bit of nutrients the body can get if your goal is to get bigger, or even leaner. Both muscle growth and structure mainly relies on protein.
If you don’t feel like eating before a workout you can simply have a protein shake. I recommend Whey Protein as it contains 9 amino acids essential for muscle-protein synthesis and promotes lean muscle growth.
Each shake provides you with 24g of Protein, which is more than enough for a high intensity workout!
How Long Before A Workout Should You Eat?
Now we’ve established that pre-workout eating is necessary, now we should go over how long before a workout you should eat something.
If you think that eating a large meal right before you step into a gym is a good idea, think again.
Ever notice how your body gets sluggish after a big meal? You need time to sit down? That’s because your body still needs to digest the food you’ve eaten, it’s just in your stomach, but not yet into your blood stream… Meaning your body is prioritizing energy to digest the food and less energy is being provided to your muscles than you need.
Like I mentioned before, protein increases muscle-protein synthesis for up to three hours after a workout so don’t worry if you eat two hours before going to the gym, as that’s actually a decent time frame to fuel up before your weekly bulk up.
I advise to aim to eat around 45 minutes before going to the gym, to ensure that the food has been properly digested and can work as fuel rather than as a burden.
So to summarize, why is eating pre-workout necessary?
- For energy to endure high intensity exercise
- To provide nutrients required for your body to function at optimum levels