In reality, the meal you eat right after a resistance workout is much more important than the one you eat before. However, there are still some considerations to keep in mind when consuming a pre-workout meal. The energy you use while weightlifting is mostly coming from the muscles, not from the bloodstream. Therefore, your recovery period after workouts is vital to ensuring proper energy for your next workout. This doesn’t mean there’s nothing to think about pre-workout, though. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Give Yourself Time
When you workout, the blood in your body is carrying oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, and taking waste material out of them. If you’ve eaten recently, your body has diverted a great deal of blood away from your muscles so it can be used to aid in digestion. This is obviously not desirable when weight training. Give yourself at least 2-3 hours to digest any food you eat before a workout. This will ensure your body will be focused on muscular work, not digestion.
This probably sounds like a broken record, but the focus of your pre-workout meal should be protein and complex carbohydrates. Fat takes the longest to digest, and in most cases should be avoided. You want high quality protein to make sure your body has all necessary amino acids to start rebuilding muscles once your workout is finished. Complex carbohydrates will balance out the meal and digest quickly enough to not interfere with your workout.
Get a Boost
Pre-workout supplements have gained a great deal of popularity lately, and many people swear by them. However, if you’re anything like me, the boost that some of them give isn’t worth the hypertension-like feeling that can come along with it. If you’re looking for a cheap and accessible energy boost for your workout, I suggest caffeine. Depending on your tolerance, a cup of coffee may get you going or just some green tea may be enough.