Many people don’t eat before an exercise and this causes them to feel tired halfway into their workout session. In fact, many fitness enthusiasts and even some athletes mistakenly believe that eating prior to an exercise session will hurt their performance and provides no real benefit. In reality, eating a decent meal before exercise could serve multiple functions such as providing enough energy, preventing symptoms of low blood sugar, such as blurred vision, fatigue and light-headedness. Pre-exercise meal could damage performance if we consume wrong types of food or eat too much of any food. Pre-exercise meal is actually a part of strategy to maximize our performance by adding enough fat, carbohydrate and protein into our system.
Carbohydrate is the primary energy source, both during daily activity and high-intensity exercise. Like cars without gasoline, our body could halt and putter during the state of carbohydrate starvation. Proper type of fuel could keep our body going during any kind of exercises, including sprinting and weightlifting. Our body can convert carbohydrate better than fat and protein. It is advisable to eat 2 grams of carbohydrate for each pound of body weight 4 hours before the exercise and then 0.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight one hour before exercise. For a 140-pound individual, this is equal to 350 grams of carbohydrate. This amount should be part of the specified daily calorific intake, so pre-exercise meal won’t disrupt any weight loss program. We could get 58 grams of carbohydrate from a couple cups of apple juice and 40 grams from two slices of whole-wheat bread. Two cups of boiled oats, regular or instant, are reasonably filling and they give us 50 grams of carbs.
In many cases, consuming slightly more carbohydrate before workout is doable, although this could be problematic for some people. Those with more sensitive digestion system should train their body to absorb more carbohydrate before a workout session. As an example, they could drink a medium-sized of fruit juice or a few crackers one hour before the exercise. On average, one hour before an exercise, a 140 pound individual could eat a cup of yogurt with chopped almond, a large banana, an apple and a bagel to get enough carbohydrate for high-intensity exercises.
Protein is consisted mostly of amino acids and it should be part of any pre-exercise meal. Instead of high-carbohydrate pre-exercise meal, we could choose to eat protein-rich meal if the goal is to gain muscle. The premise is that our body already starts to process protein during and after the muscle-building exercise. Adding about 20 grams of protein to our pre-exercise meal can fuel our body with necessary amino acids to help build muscle.
It should be noted that food with slow-digesting protein, such as meat and milk; should be consumed a few hours before the workout. However, if we start the exercise in the morning and can only eat fast-digesting protein, we may need to eat peanut butter, lentils, almonds, yogurt, lean chicken, lean turkey and protein powder supplements.
Caffeine is often found on energy drinks and some nutritional supplements. It is a common part of pre-exercise supplement and its benefits are still debated by some experts. In general, fitness enthusiasts consume some amount of caffeine to get the expected performance benefits. Not only does we can be more active with caffeine, the substance also stimulates our brain for enhanced concentration. This would ultimately enhance results of our workout. Studies have confirmed that caffeine does improve performance for both high-intensity, short-term and longer lasting exercises. Some physiologists say that caffeine won’t result in adverse effects if taken in moderation before exercises. However, some people could be affected negatively by caffeine, with “coffee stomach” symptoms, such as nausea and bloating. People who are sensitive to caffeine should consume smaller amount of the substance to see how their body reacts to it. On average, we could consume about 1.5mg for each pound of body weight, taken one hour before the workout.
Pre-exercise meal should be beneficial for people who look t o gain muscle and lose fat. They could have a small meal about one hour before the exercise; while large meal can be taken four hours before the exercise begin. In any case, proper amount of protein and carbohydrate should make up the proportion of the meal. This should ensure that our body is properly fuelled, thereby maximizing both performance and post-exercise benefits. Also, when taken in moderation, caffeine should significantly enhance our concentration and energy. Those with specific health issues may need to consult their physician or nutritionist before using a nutritional supplementation.