There is a lot of talk and hype surrounding ‘Pre-Workout’ meals and supplements. Every magazine has a new recipe for the perfect pre-workout meal and every supplement company has their latest and greatest pre-workout powder with a list of supposed benefits longer than your arm!
The truth is that your pre-workout meal is not really any more or less important in terms of your overall results than any other meal. It is all really just a matter of timing. The supplement companies and some diet spruikers will have you believe that there is some miraculous combination of nutrients, that when consumed at a specific time interval before a workout, will double or triple your results. And as appealing as that sounds, it simply isn’t true.
Assuming that your diet consists of 3-5 meals spaced throughout the day, then your pre-workout meal should generally consist of a balance of fats, carbohydrates and protein, just like any other meal. The main consideration for your specific pre-workout meal is how long you will have for digestion between the time you eat and the time you start your workout.
It is often recommended that you should consume your pre-workout meal 30 - 90 minutes before you workout, which is a useful guide, but that is all it is. The reality is that everyone digests foods at different rates and feels different after consuming various meals. The goal of your pre-workout meal is to get the nutrients your body needs to sustain you through your workout, at a time and in a way that won’t make you feel full and sluggish.
If you workout mid morning or mid afternoon then your regular breakfast or lunch will likely do the job as your pre-workout meal and be everything you need. If you workout early in the morning you probably don’t want a full meal before hand, so something simple like a healthy smoothie and a banana could provide the perfect boost. Just a few hundred calories to break the fast and kick your protein synthesis into gear.
When it comes to your pre-workout meal, don’t over think it! Stick to the basics of your good diet and figure out what works best for you!