A common question I get is what do I eat before I workout? Here are some simple guidelines.
The reason you eat before you workout is to help you sustain energy, improve your training performance, hydrate, preserve muscle, and speed the recovery process, post training.
A combination of protein, carbs and fats and liquid will help you meet the goals above. Protein before you workout will help you with preserving muscle, reduce muscle damage, and gets amino acids in your blood for immediate use. Carbohydrates helps fuel your training, preserves stores of muscle and liver glycogen and stimulates the release of insulin (improves the synthesis of protein and protein breakdown). Fats help slow digestion and provide some vitamins and minerals important for performance.
If you have two to three hours you can eat the following:
For males, 2 Palm Sizes of Protein, 2 Fist Sizes of Vegetables, 2 Cupped handfuls of Carb dense foods like fruit or brown rice, two thumbs of fat dense food (nuts/avocado) and 16 oz of water.
For females the same but one serving of each and 8-16oz of water.
If you only have an hour before your workout you won't have much time to digest your food. A shake or smoothie may be your best option at this point.
A good example of a pre-workout shake would look like this:
1 Scoop of Vanilla Protein
1 Fist full of Spinach or Kale
1 Table Spoon of Peanut Butter
8 oz of Chocolate or Vanilla (unsweetened) Almond Milk
Keep in mind the following:
1. These are basic guidelines for people who are going to do 45-mintues to an hour of training. If you are preparing to go on a 10 mile run the amount of carbohydrates you will need will be different.
2. Know how your body responds to food. Don't eat foods that upset your stomach. No need to eat a great pre-workout meal that stops you from working out.