Some simple tips to help you get the right fuel for your body to stop you feeling sick or dizzy during and/or after your workout!
Which foods and how much to eat depends on the type, duration and intensity of the workout.
A good rule of thumb is to eat a mixture of carbs and protein prior to exercise.
If you eat fat with your pre-workout meal, then it should be consumed at least a few hours before your workout.
Here are some examples of balanced pre-workout meals:
If Your Workout Starts Within 2–3 Hours or More
- Sandwich on whole-grain bread, lean protein and a side salad
- Egg omelet and whole-grain toast topped with avocado spread and a cup of fruit
- Lean protein, brown rice and roasted vegetables
If Your Workout Starts Within 2 Hours
- Protein smoothie made with milk, protein powder, banana and mixed berries
- Whole-grain cereal and milk
- A cup of oatmeal topped with banana and sliced almonds
- Natural almond butter and fruit preserve sandwich on whole-grain bread
If Your Workout Starts Within an Hour or Less
- Greek yogurt and fruit
- Nutrition bar with protein and wholesome ingredients
- A piece of fruit, such as a banana, orange or apple
Keep in mind that you don’t need to eat many pre-workout meals at different times. Just choose one of these.
For best results, experiment with different timings and nutrient compositions.
Supplement use is common in sports. These products may enhance performance, improve strength, increase lean body mass and reduce fatigue.
Below are some of the best pre-workout supplements.
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Creatine is probably the most commonly used sports supplement.
It has been shown to increase muscle mass, muscle fiber size and muscle strength and power, all while delaying fatigue.
Even though it’s beneficial to take creatine before a workout, it can be even more effective when taken after a workout.
Taking 2–5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day is effective.
Among many other benefits, caffeine has been shown to improve performance, increase strength and power, help reduce feelings of fatigue and stimulate fat burning.
Caffeine can be consumed in coffee, tea and energy drinks, but it can also be found in pre-workout supplements and pills.
It doesn’t really matter how you consume it, as its effects on performance are usually the same.
Caffeine’s peak effects are seen 90 minutes after consumption. However, it has been shown to be effective even when ingested 15–60 minutes prior to exercise.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs refer to the essential amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine.
Studies have shown that taking BCAAs before workouts helps decrease muscle damage and increase muscle protein synthesis.
A dose of 5 grams or more, at least an hour prior to exercise, is effective.
Beta-Alanine is an amino acid that increases your muscle stores of carnosine. It has been shown to be most effective for short- and high-intensity exercises.
It does this by increasing exercise capacity and muscle endurance while reducing fatigue.
The recommended daily dose is 2–5 grams, of which at least 0.5 grams should be consumed prior to your workout.
Multi-Ingredient Pre-Workout Supplements
Some people prefer products that contain a blend of the supplements mentioned above.
The combination of these ingredients may have synergistic effects and improve performance significantly.
Caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, branched-chain amino acids, arginine and B vitamins are among the most commonly used ingredients in these products.
These pre-workout supplements have been shown to increase work output, strength, endurance, anaerobic power, reaction time, focus and alertness.
The particular dose depends on the product, but it’s generally recommended to take them about 30–45 minutes before exercise.
Your body needs water to function.
Good hydration has been shown to sustain and even enhance performance, while dehydration has been linked to significant decreases in performance.
It’s recommended to consume both water and sodium before exercise. This will improve fluid balance.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking 16–20 ounces (0.5–0.6 liters) of water at least four hours before exercise and 8–12 ounces (0.23–0.35 liters) of water 10–15 minutes before exercise.
Additionally, they recommend consuming a beverage that contains sodium to help retain fluids.
If you have any further questions about what to eat before and after your workouts, don’t hesitate to reach out.
REPS Level 3 Personal Trainer and Sports Therapist