Let’s talk about pre-workout nutrition.
BUT, first my friends, please don’t be the guy or girl who prioritizes his pre-workout carb/ protein ratios, yet hasn’t even locked in ones “energy balance”.
IE, calorie intake first to meet your goals, followed by macros.
This is equivalent to you planning the wedding for the girl you like, but you haven’t even sacked up to ask her to go have Fro-Yo, your just liking her IG pics, and “putting the cart before the horse”.
For pre-workout nutrition, context is ever important. Are you trying to build muscle? Lose fat? Maintain? Is this more performance, or aesthetic based?
For simplicity, let’s keep this focused around an aesthetic based, fat loss approach.
Regardless of your goal, it all begins with digestion.
So choosing food sources, and looking at timing, so you “FEEL” your best during training, therefore can “PERFORM” your best.
We want to make sure to have circulating amino acid availability while training.
This can come from intra-workout EAA’s, or WHEY. Both work in this situation.
You should aim though to have a bolus of protein within around 3 hours of training.
I typically like to have my pre-workout meal 90 minutes before my first set, to allow the bulk of digestion to run its course.
Now, when looking at food choice, let’s avoid ones which you don’t digest well.
Within this, we usually want to limit fats, and fiber as this will slow the digestion process.
Choosing lean protein sources, (ribeye steak might not be the best bet), rather egg whites, whey, chicken, turkey, tuna, and other white fishes.
Now, with carbohydrates, understand that we need also to prioritize sources which will not linger in the gut, and hinder performance.
Oatmeal, for example, is high in a soluble fiber called beta-glucan which dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like solution in the gut.
Great for other times in the day to stave off hunger, but we need faster clearing glucose sources (unless your pre-workout meal is going to be 2+ hours prior, this would be a good choice).
Other sources which seem to linger in the gut (often related to fiber), include cream of wheat, and sweet potatoes.
Better choices would include cream of rice (my go-to), kids cereal, white rice, rice cakes, white bagels, white pasta, etc…..
“But Jordan, I thought sugar is bad, shouldn’t I limit this?”.
First off, it’s important to remember that any source of carbohydrates is eventually broken down into monosaccharides (aka sugars) as the end result.
So even the bro-bodybuilder who only lets you eat sweet potatoes, and rice, is still causing sugar to enter your bloodstream.
With that said, different carbohydrates offer a unique combination and amount of various health-promoting micronutrients, but at the end of the day, they’re still just fucking sugar…
My favorite meal includes peanut butter cream of rice, chocolate peanut butter protein, PB2, a bit of fruit for added fructose, and a small amount of nut butter.
“Why nut butter? Don’t we want to limit fats?”… yes, but it depends.
Some people without a small number of fats in their pre-workout meal can feel a bit of “hypoglycemic” effect.
Meaning the carbohydrates digest quickly, cause a rise in blood sugar, then a steep decline, leaving you feeling “tired”, and performance suffering.
Everyone is different here, so if you feel this happening, simply add in 5-10g of fats with your pre-workout meal, and you should be golden ponyboy.
Let me know if you found this helpful!