What you take or eat before your workout can greatly influence, not only your performance in the gym, but your gains in muscle mass . Follow these four simple steps and you’ll be on your way to anabolic muscle growth from the very first rep you perform.
When it comes to nutrition, it seems that most bodybuilders – beginners and intermediate lifters in particular – place a greater emphasis on ensuring that their post-workout nutrition is the most appropriate. possible and they forget that pre-training is also very important.
A regimen with good nutrition, if followed correctly, will help you experience dramatically noticeable gains in muscle size and strength.
To visualize the importance of pre-workout supplementation, imagine your body running on an empty stomach during training. You may feel a bit sluggish and your performance may suffer. If you are lucky, you can still get some muscle engorgement. But what you don’t realize is that you are experiencing a double negative effect.
Mainly, if you are training on an almost empty stomach, glycogen stores are depleted quickly. And once they are completely exhausted, the body will use your muscle mass as its closest source of energy.
The other negative consequence of inadequate pre-workout nutrition is that intensity and endurance capacity suffer. As a result, you won’t be able to push yourself to the limit, resulting in a less-than-stellar performance in the gym.
As a general rule, your nutritional pre-workout regimen should be divided into two phases. The first phase consists of having a meal an hour or two before exercising (depending on your metabolism).
The second phase takes place 15 to 30 minutes before training and consists of supplements that are consumed to give more fuel to your training. Here are four easy-to-follow tips you can use to build a solid pre-workout nutrition plan.
Phase one: Pre-workout meal (1-2 hours before training)
1. Slow-digesting carbohydrates:
Before training you need to consume good sources of carbohydrates, such as slow-digesting ones. Not only will they provide a source of energy, preventing your body from using the energy from your muscles, but they will also sustain you throughout your entire workout.
This is why it is not advisable to use high glycemic index or fast digesting carbohydrates, as they will quickly deplete once their energy source is used during your training.
If you consume excess carbohydrates, or too close to your workout, your body will not have enough time to metabolize food.
As a result, blood is redirected directly to working muscles rather than assisting with digestion. As a general rule, it is recommended to consume between 40-80 grams of carbohydrates one or two hours before training.
Some slow digesting carbohydrates can be: brown rice, oats, whole wheat pasta, etc.
2. Eat fruits:
Fruits, like oranges, are an excellent addition to a pre-workout meal. Now that you have a slower digesting source of carbohydrates (as noted above), it is also beneficial to have a small, rapidly digesting carbohydrate source to kick start your workout.
Oranges provide this type of energy source fast.
In addition to providing a solid source of simple carbohydrates, oranges are packed with vitamin C and electrolytes. Bananas and apples are also great options if oranges aren’t to your liking.
Of course, no meal is complete without protein. As the most important source of muscle growth, protein – made up of essential and non-essential amino acids – is vital to maintaining a positive nitrogen balance necessary to stimulate maximum protein synthesis.
Obtaining the correct amino acid ratio is critical to achieving an anabolic state and the best way to achieve this is by consuming complete protein sources such as egg whites, chicken, turkey and even skim milk.
Another option is to have a whey protein shake if you can’t eat or are in a rush. As a general rule, consume 20 to 40 grams of protein in preparation for your training session.
Phase 2: Pre-training supplements (30 minutes before training)
There are a lot of supplements to choose from. Therefore, when analyzing stores be sure to select a fast-acting supplement, which is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream so that you have extra energy in your training.
Products that contain a combination of caffeine and l-arginine are very popular choices, and for good reason. Caffeine promotes greater focus, intensity, and energy in the gym. Arginine-based supplements are another popular option, as they are designed to activate maximal vasodilation, resulting in stronger muscle engorgement.