Pre-Workout Nutrition Hack
OH NO. WHERE DID ALL THE TIME GO??:
How many times have you lost complete track of the time and ended up having only 30 minutes to leave the office and get to the gym for a workout – but you haven’t even eaten yet?!
We all hate going into the gym “hangry” or without enough energy to get in an awesome workout, so we are going to give you some advice on pre-workout nutrition for performance!
I do want to preface that this tip is for “performance” and to get the most out of your workout with regards to strength and energy, but may not be best suited for weight loss.
What Not to Do
Let’s start with the what-not-to-do if you are scrambling for last-minute pre-workout nutrition. We want to stay away from foods that will slow down digestion so that you don’t have that heavy, full feeling in your stomach during training.
Eating heavy amounts of protein and fat (emphasis on the heavy) as we take on our 15 min drive to the gym is going to wreak havoc on your digestion and prevent most people from training at a high enough intensity to make progress.
Another important note that should be taken into consideration here: Fats are a great pre-workout source of fuel and should be consumed in most circumstances before training.
They are the most calorically dense food source and work great for a pre-workout. But this is a “running-out-of-the-office as fast as we can, speeding down the road to drop the kids off at daycare, only have 30 minutes to workout” Armageddon kinda article. Trust us, if you lead a busy life, we know this situation arises all too often.
So what do we do under crisis?
- Make sure that you HYDRATE! Hydration is something that we’re normally always lacking, especially when we haven’t been eating leading up to a workout. This will help to ensure you have sufficient energy for your training. And long story short, you’ve gotta have fluids to help shuttle around these nutrients you’re about to cram in your face!
- Foods that are easy to digest. This is the most important thing when it comes down to pre-workout nutrition. We need to find a source of simple carbs that will digest easily and help replenish our body’s energy stores (glycogen). Simple carbs will also not sit as heavily on your stomach during training, which is huge when we’re looking to perform at intensity during our workouts.
Choices for simple carbs:
- Fruit is a wonderful choice (our go-to is a banana) to not only give us some quick, simple sugars but also helps to get in some antioxidants. Dried fruit is a must that you can keep in your gym bag for quick, emergency energy.
- Eat a few rice cakes or Rice Krispies on the go. Although they may not be calorically dense, they are shelf-stable to keep along with you in your car to eat before a workout. Grab a few handfuls of cereal to eat on the way. Most cereals are going to be full of simple sugars and will give you that quick burst of energy needed. (REMEMBER, we’re on a deadline here!)
- Another option could be putting some honey on toast and running out the door. Sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, or Body Armor are always recommended in these drastic circumstances as well.
- I saved one of the best options for last, and that is utilizing a good carb supplement. For pre-workout carbs we don’t want something too dense, so we heavily rely on Glycoload by Metabolic Nutrition. It’s easy to mix, tastes great, and you can almost feel it preparing you for your workout as you drink it. Seriously, this is not your typical carb supp – stop by and ask us for a sample to see for yourself.
I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea about consuming fats closer to your training. We are in a cataclysmic rush to get to the gym, and I want to make sure that you don’t eat the wrong food. Fats can be used in this scenario with great success, but they need to be carefully portion controlled. If you overdo it, you will feel sluggish and full.
My recommendation is typically to use around two tablespoons of peanut butter (measure accurately and not heaping scoops) or 15-20 almonds along with a carb source. Fats are great, but too much can ruin your training.
So the next time you find yourself unprepared & attempting to break the sound barrier in a rush to the gym, follow some of these simple guidelines to make sure you don’t have a lackluster workout!