Pre-Workout meal – when and how much?
Depending on how much time you have, it’s ideal to have a pre-workout meal about 2 hours before exercise that contains ~300 to 500 calories, OR have a smaller meal/snack with less calories, 30 to 60 minutes before you train. Pre-workout meals will vary from person to person because some people take a longer time to digest certain foods. It’s best to listen to your body and notice how you feel after you eat.
If you’re going to be strength training…
Eat a meal or snack that contains about 75% carbs and 25% protein before a strength training session. The carbs will give your body the energy needed to produce power, while the protein will not only keep you full longer, but also help your muscles repair and grow.
If you’re going to be doing cardio…
A pre-workout meal or snack for cardio requires more carbs than protein. This is because carbs turn into energy quicker and will help keep you fueled for your workout. Carbs should consist of 75-100% of your pre-cardio meal. You can add a portion of protein or fiber to deliver a steadier rate of energy and help prevent fatigue halfway through.
You want to eat low glycemic index carbs that are easy on your stomach because they are released more slowly into your body and will give you long lasting energy. Examples include fruit, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and beans. Stay away from too much fat pre-workout because fats take a longer time to digest and may be hard on your stomach. But, having one serving of fat will slow digestion, which will help maintain your energy level.