You likely already know this information, but our body needs fuel to provide energy for EVERYTHING we do, especially before a workout. Honestly, it’s not a bad idea to refuel again after a session.
Not only should we focus on the best foods for fuel and energy, but there is a “right” way to go about it. We don’t want to randomly dump fuel into the tank before we know the type of premium ingredients we need, do we?
We didn’t think so!
Four Ways To Fuel Your Body Pre-Workout
1: Spread Out Those Proteins
Proteins play a vital role in building and repairing muscles and bones, producing hormones and enzymes. Our body uses protein as an energy source too
The number of proteins an individual requires varies based on a few things:
- An individual's size.
- How much physical activity they get in general.
- The type of exercises they do.
- The intensity of the workouts.
According to the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM), for optimal muscle maintenance, it’s recommended that 10 to 35 % of our daily energy intake or fuel comes from protein. For someone who regularly consumes 2,000 calories a day, the number of protein calories should be 200 to 700.
Enough of the technical stuff, and onward to the juice!
If increasing your lean muscle mass is one of the fitness goals, you might need more protein than had your main focus been strengthening your endurance. Walking and jogging don’t require as much energy as running through an entire set of a 30-minute weight-training session.
Eating protein in smaller amounts more frequently throughout the day can improve muscle building, according to a 2012 study. Adding more protein at breakfast (typically a low-protein meal for many) and cutting back on them during dinner. For some, dividing the extra protein between breakfast and lunch works more efficiently.
2: Proper Hydration
Drinking enough of the proper fluids before, during, and after exercising helps keep us from becoming dehydrated. It’s normal to sweat when we engage in physical activity; how much depends on the intensity of the physical activity or workout and our genes.
Kimberly Stein, PhS, senior scientist at the Gatorade Sport Science Institute (GSSI), shared information about hydration needs. She says the best way to know how much water we need is to monitor any weight changes, from pre-workout to post-workout.
All you have to do is weigh yourself before and after your workout session. If you lost weight, drink an additional 16 oz of fluids for every pound lost. If you’ve gained weight, you should be able to cut back a little fluid intake.
Make sure you drink fluids at least four hours post-workout. Doing so can reduce the feeling that makes us chug water. Electrolytes drinks are excellent.
3: Consume Enough Carbohydrates
While protein provides energy, carbs are the primary fuel source our body burns when we exercise. According to a piece published by ACSM, people who exercise (regardless of the level) should get between 50 and 60 percent of their daily calories from carbs.
4: Maintaining A Healthy Diet
What we eat and drink before and after a workout is essential, but we must focus on healthy eating habits all the time. We’re not saying it’s not ok to have a cheat day, but we mustn't allow it to become a habit.
Our body requires fuel; there’s no way around it! Make sure you fuel up before a workout and make wise choices throughout the week. Healthy habits can be hard to start, but it’s possible to accomplish both!