Pre Workout Nutrition

Depending on your personal goals, type of workout and time of day you train determines what you should be eating beforehand. If you like to do fasted cardio first thing in the morning, you may want to drink some coffee with BCAA’s or take a pre-workout. Maybe your focus is fat loss, you might want to consider eating a high fat meal like eggs and coconut oil and some caffeine with acetyl-L-carnitine to promote fat burning. Maybe your focus is building lean muscle, you’re going to opt for a fatty meat source and a vasodilator supplement like arginine, citrulline malate and nitric oxide. Or you might be focusing on strength/power output, in this case you’re going to want some carbs and lean protein. The reason you want to avoid carbs for muscle building and fat loss is when you eat carbs you stimulate the release of insulin, which acts to inhibit the release of growth hormone. Insulin is the king anabolic hormone in our bodies and it store nutrients, which is the opposite effect we want when focusing on fat loss and lean muscle gain. We want to break down our muscle fibers and use our body’s fat cells for fuel which is a catabolic process. This process is maximized by avoiding carbs before a workout. I recommend my clients eat at least an hour before working out and drink plenty of water for hydration. Studies show fat loss and muscle gain increase when our bodies are properly hydrated. People ask me what to drink during workouts, and I always respond with “it depends.” If you want to promote fat loss you need to drink water, if you want to build muscle you should sip on some BCAA’s especially if your workouts are longer than 45 minutes. For those strength and power athletes I recommend taking in a quick carbohydrate source about halfway into your workout: specifically I recommend either highly branched cyclic dextrin or a carb powder. For endurance athletes, I recommend the same as strength athletes for training and games. Start off drinking plenty of water and then at halftime you can refuel with either of the above carb sources. Usually 30-60 grams is sufficient depending on the size of the individual. My next post will be on post workout nutrition aka step 1 in the recovery process.