Ever had some great days at the gym and some not so great days? You know what I am talking about. Some days, you are just breezing through TRX and weights and the cardio machines. Some days you don’t. Every step is a struggle.
Apart from adequate rest between workouts, did you know that what you eat could affect your fitness performance? Eating right can give you the stamina you need, to endure a strenuous workout.
Carbohydrates, lean protein and plenty of hydration in the right balance are some fundamentals of a good Pre-workout Meal. Our muscles utilise carbohydrates like those found in cereals, brown bread, brown rice, for fuel. Protein is needed to build and maintain muscles. Blood, which is essentially made up of water (plasma), is the life source that delivers nutrients and oxygen to working muscles and removes waste from them. Protein in our diet (e.g. fish, beef, chicken) also contains iron, which is an essential part in haemoglobin, the protein in blood that transports oxygen to all the parts of the body. Ever tasted blood? It actually tastes metallic, due to the iron content in it. Anyway, once everything is in equilibrium you will find yourself working out at your optimum level.
These 5 pre-workout food fundamentals tell you what you should eat before a workout and how long you should wait after a meal. For me, the best plan has always been to eat 5 small meals a day, rather than the traditional 3 meal a day. By eating every 3 – 4 hours, I find I am less sluggish and my body has the energy at the end of the day to keep working out. When I run, I usually run for 1.5 hours on the weekends. When I work out at the gym, I like to do at least 2 classes back to back, e.g. bodypump + attack, or TRX + bodystep or bodypump + combat , so you can imagine that I really need my nutrients, to keep going for that long.
As such, my 5 Pre-Workout Food Fundamentals are found in meals that are:
1. Low in saturated fat (Japanese sushi is great, Indian Banana Leaf rice, is not!)
2. Contain some carbohydrates and protein (2 hours before workout, a low fat cheese sandwich is good for energy)
3. Low in fiber (I don’t eat too much high fiber foods, as they give me gas and make me bloat up. You can save the fiber for dinner!)
4. I also keep hydrated with – Water, green tea, low-fat milk, or 100plus, or some substitute of these. I like low fat milk in between classes as it helps my muscles recover and I feel less fatigued
5. Foods that my body is used to digesting (don’t eat anything exciting or different or too spicy, as you will pay the price in class!)
Of course, apart from these 5 Pre-Workout Food Fundamentals, the food that you eat daily, as part of your regular diet, is also important. Eating healthy is a away of life.. and building the habit of doing so is what seals the deal. Occasional cheat days are fine, and what keeps us sane, but the operative word being occasional!
What are your Pre-Workout Food Fundamentals?