One of the most common things we come across is people under fueling themselves for a training session. As coaches we can see it in your eyes, half way through your workout your eyes start to glaze over, you start to rest more and more, you start to look at the clock to see how much time you have left, then worst of all you might start to feel dizzy.
Most of the time you likely think to yourself “I’m so unfit today” or “I feel like rubbish”. A likely reason why you feel that way: You havent fuelled yourself properly.
Knowing what to eat before a training session is so important, then developing a pre training routine is a way to ensure you can do it constantly.
Fueling your body with the right nutrients prior to exercise will give you the energy and strength you need to perform better.
Each macronutrient (Carb, Fat and Protein) has a specific role before a workout. However, the ratio in which you need to consume them varies by the type of exercise. For training like CrossFit or High Intensity Functional Fitness primarily requires Carbs and Protein pre training.
Lets get a little bit technical. Your muscles use the glucose from carbs for fuel. Glycogen is the way the body processes and stores glucose, mainly in the liver and muscles.
For high-intensity exercise, your glycogen stores are your muscles’ main source of energy. So if you haven’t eaten enough Carbs prior to training you will likely feel flat with little to no energy.
Your muscles’ glycogen stores are limited. As they become depleted, your output and intensity will drop off very quickly Therefore we recommend that no matter what your goal is, if you are using High intensity functional fitness as your choice of training that you have a regular amount of carbs in your diet. For males around one and a half to two palm fulls per meal and for females around 1 cupped palm full. Carbs like: Rice, Oats, Kumara, Potato or Banana are great in the lead up and pre training.
It is well documented that pre workout protein consumption will improve your performance.
Eating Protein prior to exercise has numerous benefits that include:
- A better anabolic response: Better muscle growth
- Improved muscle recovery
- Increased strength and lean body mass
- Increased muscle performance
Do we need to say any more.. Be sure to get some Protein in pre training.
Fats do play a part in pre workout nutrition, just not ideally for High intensity training, Fats are a better source of fuel for longer and moderate-to-low-intensity exercise. Pre Workout Timing Finally timing of you meal is key. Ideally you will have a fully balanced meal of Carbs, Protein and fat around 2-3 hours pre training. If your last main meal was say at lunch time and your training session is around 4-5pm you are going to need to eat closer to training (45-60 min) keep this meal slightly smaller and simple containing only carbs and protein. Something like Oats and Protein powder is effective, or a banana and a protein shake. You ideally want to avoid things like nut bars or high fat foods pre training as they will likely slow you down and leave you feeling lethargic.
For a more personalised approach to your Nutrition please reach out to one of our Nutrition Coaches that can help you come up with a completely personalised plan.