Nutrition is integral when it comes to the energy needed to perform strength or endurance training, just like the nutrition needed for recovery post-workout.
Why is there a need for pre-exercise nutrition? Fuelling up before a workout is required to give you an extra boost in order to maximise your workout, or else you will limit your abilities. Pre-workout food or supplement has an impact on your body composition, energy levels, immunity, mental focus, fitness level and overall recovery, Aman Puri, Founder, Steadfast Nutrition tells IANSlife.
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Importance of pre-exercise nutrition
The timing and composition of the meal are important for improving performance, Puri says.
– Provides sustained energy:
Carbohydrates help fuel your body and delay muscular fatigue. A balanced pre workout meal supplies energy for longer duration to the body, which allows you to perform more reps before dropping out.
– Improves endurance:
It helps improve your muscular endurance and your stamina level. Although, few research studies suggest this and more studies are needed. In a study done by Jagim et al, 2016, the participants consumed pre-workout meal before running on a treadmill, they were able to run 12.5 percent longer than those the placebo group.
– May improve mental focus:
It might help enhance cognitive processes such as alertness, focus, reaction time, perception of energy and mood.
– May improve body composition:
It has been observed that long term consumption of a good pre-workout meal or supplement, when combined with a resistance training programme, leads to a greater increase in lean muscle mass.
What to eat 2-3 hours before you exercise?
Timings and type of pre-exercise nutrition have significant importance. A meal or a supplement, which is carbohydrate-rich in combination with some protein helps increase liver glycogen (stored energy) and muscle glycogen stores. Also, such benefits are more apparent in long-duration (<2 hrs) sports like cycling, swimming or workout, points out Puri.
He suggests whole grain sandwich (chicken/cottage cheese), a protein smoothie with nuts and fruits, oats pancake with a glass of beetroot juice.
“Furthermore, simple to digest carbohydrate-based snack or a beverage, else a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink should be taken 30-60 minutes before you exercise. Few food suggestions are -yoghurt and fruit smoothie with some sugar and rock salt, banana + beetroot and orange juice, a handful of raisins + watermelon juice. Since, beetroot is naturally rich in arginine and watermelon in L-citrulline, both help enhances oxygen capacity.”
Do not forget to hydrate yourself by having up to 2 L of water 2-3 hours before a workout and 200-250 ml of water 30- 60 minutes before starting off, he advises.
Ergogenic role of pre-workout supplements
There are many kinds of supplements available, they might contain single ingredients or group of ingredients. They can be broadly distinguished into two categories:
– Pre-workout with creatine (mostly used by strength athletes)
– Pre-workout without creatine (mostly used by endurance athletes)
“Most of the core ingredients commonly used in supplements which act as an ergogenic aid in boosting performance are caffeine, B vitamins, BCAAs, electrolytes, L-citrulline, Beta-Alanine and Creatine. They help provide performance benefits like stamina, strength, speed, brainpower and give you a performance edge.”
So, don’t run on empty and fuel up! What you eat before exercise can greatly impact your performance and recovery. Pre-Workout food or supplement may act as a catalyst in performing better during a workout and to reach your fitness or health goals. (IANS)