Sports Nutrition: Pre-workout


What you eat and when you eat it can increase or decrease the effectiveness of your workout. Recovery, anabolism and results depend on two key meals: Pre-workout and Post-workout.

Pre-Workout Nutrition
Your pre-workout meal is the second most important meal second to only the post-workout meal. The goal of this meal is to prepare the body from the stress it is about to endure. The pre-workout meal isn’t much different from one of your normal meals. It should be focused on protein and complex carbohydrates. It is important that both these macronutrients be present and consumed 60-90 minutes before exercise. Eating too close to exercise doesn’t give the body enough time to digest and make the nutrients available to the body during exercise.


So what do I eat?

Complex Carbohydrates in your pre-workout meal will help ensure you have adequate energy levels for your workout. 

Bananas are packed with potassium which aids in maintaining proper nerve and muscle function. Your body doesn’t store potassium for long periods of time therefore during an intense workout your potassium levels will drop. Pair the banana with a handful of raw almonds and yogurt and you have yourself a quick, complete and easy pre-workout meal. 







A bowl of oatmeal is another great choice. Oats are full of fiber and are low on the glycemic index meaning the carbohydrates are released into your bloodstream gradually, keeping your energy levels constant during your workout. Oats also contain B vitamins which lower stress, increase energy and convert carbohydrates into energy. 

A study led by the University of Exeter, published in 2009 in the "Journal of Applied Physiology," reported that beet juice may have the most benefits when it comes to improving athletic stamina. Not only has beet juice been found to help boost athletic performance, but the vegetable has also been linked to helping those with lung and heart problems and aiding in general overall health. 

Nitrates
The Exeter-led study pointed to the benefits of nitrates, concluding that they boost a cyclists's endurance by 16 percent. Nitrates are helpful to athletes because they quickly bring oxygen to muscles, essentially making the hard efforts easier. Consider a glass of beet juice as part of your pre-workout meal.

Check out Sports Nutrition: Post-Workout for what, when and how much to eat after your workout.

The information presented here is not intended to replace professional medical care when needed. Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for disease diagnosis, therapy choice, medicine selection and dosage.

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