The weather is getting nicer and many of us have started training again! Here are some of my favourite pre-workout nutrition strategies.
What are the priorities?
- Performance – Completing workout as planned, meeting all reps and load targets
- Adaptation – Increasing strength, power, endurance, stamina, size, etc.
- Injury Prevention – Avoiding nutrition-related injuries, excessive fatigue and/or burnout
Fuel for the Work Required
The first thing you’ll need to do is ensure you are consuming enough calories and carbohydrates for the output.
This can be as simple as adding an extra meal and/or snack to your daily routine the day of your workout.
Adjust Carbohydrate Intake if Needed
Carbs provide the fuel for our work output, especially if the intensity of your session is at or above 60% of your maximum intensity.
“How intense is my workout?”
If is anywhere from a 6 -10, you’ll want to make sure you have consumed sufficient carbohydrates the days leading up to and day of. Nothing major, just make sure you have a source of carbs in every meal.
Eat Final Meal 2-4 Hours Before
Why so far away from the training?
You want all food to be relatively digested if possible, or at least out of the stomach, so you don’t suffer cramping, bloating or frequent bathroom use.
“Why such a wide range?”
Every individual is different and some people will only need a short 60 – 90 mins while others will need the full 4 hours before they are ready to train after eating.
Have a Pre-Workout Snack if Needed
“If needed” can mean
- You enjoy it
- Will provide some simple sugars for high-intensity performance
- Won’t cause any gas or bloating
- Will put you in a good headspace before starting to train
What Should My Pre-Workout Snack Be?
Anything with some simple carbohydrates that will provide readily available fuel.
- Simple sugars (fruit, couple squares of chocolate, smoothie)
- Refined carbohydrates (white-bread sandwich)
- If session is going to particularly tough, you can look to a sports drink
Use a Pre-Workout Supplement if Needed
Personally, a cup of coffee is the furthest I’ll look into pre-workout supplementation. However, there can be some beneficial ingredients in a quality pre-workout formula.
- Caffeine – Focus, alertness, reaction times
- Beta-Alanine – May improve maintenance high-intensity performance
- Creatine – Can improve maximal force output and rapid recovery during shortened break times
- Citruline Mallate – Improves blood flow and may improve power output
Nutrition is very individualized, finding something that works for you can take some trial and error. If this is something you struggle with, please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can contact us here.