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What to Eat Before a Workout; A Macronutrient Guide

A Macronutrient Guide: What to Eat Before a Workout

Let’s Simplify Nutrition

What to eat before a workout is what many beginners ask when starting on their fitness journey. What to eat before a workout can be difficult question.

Therefore, today we will simplify for you on what to eat before a workout with macronutrients.

  1. First, we will look into the basics of macronutrients, why are they important, and what role each play?
  2. Then, we will look into why you need proper nutrition after all before a workout.
  3. At last, we look into what to eat before a workout and when?


Knowing Your Macros

There are three macronutrients found in your food which provide calories and energy: fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Each has a specific role towards providing you energy for your workouts. However, they are to be consumed in different compositions depending on your workout and the timing of consumption.

  1. Carbohydrates will have the biggest composition in your pre-work meal. Carbs lets your glycogen stores to increase and prevents your body from going into catabolic state. (more on this next)
  2. Fats have a bad name but they are also built up from the essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6. They provide you concentrated energy which is crucial for a workout.
  3. Protein is not very popular for a pre-workout meal but has a vital role to play in Muscle Protein Synthesis. Protein helps in increasing muscle anabolism (More on this next).
Macros Carbs Fats Proteins
Composition 45-65% 20-35% 10-35%
Types Complex & Simple Saturated, Unsaturated & Trans Essential & Non-essential amino-acids*
Workout For short & high intensity workouts For longer & moderate-to-low workouts Resistance & balance exercises
Calories per gram 4 9 4

 A Macronutrient Guide: What to Eat Before a Workout

Why Know Your Macros

Keeping a check on Nutrition can be very difficult. A simple way to understand them is knowing your macros.

  1. They are just three with a specific role to play.
  2. Every food is divided into macros.
  3. Understanding few features will help you know lot more about nutrition.


How to Track Your Macros Easily?

Smart Phone applications such as Lifesum & MyFitnessPal will make you Nutrionist and get you the easy steps to track your macros.

1. Install one of the Fitness Apps. Check out the Top 5 Fitness Apps for 2018.

2. Enter your information

3. Your Fitness goals and target weight.

4. Start logging in what ever you eat (everyday).

5. The app will tell you what macros you are consuming and what you need to achieve your goals.

Benefits of Pre-Workout Meal

Proper nutrition is equally important to lifting weights. Athletes and bodybuilders are focused on their diet as much they are on their workouts.

Here is a list of reasons that will convince you even more why you should give equal or more importance to your diet before hitting the gym.

  1. More energy to complete your work out. Carbohydrates and glycogen are the main source of energy. They convert into energy faster than any other macros
  2. Prevent your body from going into catabolic state. Glycogen stores are first used up while exercising. When glycogen starts to deplete, your body uses your muscle energy which reduces the growth of muscles and recovery.
  3. Increases muscle anabolism. While catabolic state extracts complex molecules into simpler ones, extracting energy. Anabolism is exactly the opposite of converting simple molecules into synthesized complex ones. As a result, proper nutrition will give you more glycogen in the body, and allow protein muscle synthesis.
  4. Decrease Muscle Soreness and Fatigue. Lack of energy while working out can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. Just like an engine running out of fuel. Forcing yourself to work out without energy will be counterproductive and would start hurting your body.
  5. Maximize your performance. Ample energy won’t just let you complete you work out but also let you perform at your best. Every athlete or performer needs to be at their best to grow themselves.


What to Eat Before a Workout & How Long Before

Here we list some of the most popular foods you can eat before a workout. Some of them digest quicker than the other so make sure you get your timing right.

2-3 hours before the workout

Go for a complete meal 2-3 hours before a workout. Meal that has complex carbs and lean protein. There are various options you can go for with lots to mix and matches. Here are a few of them.

  1. Omelet & Brown Bread
  2. Whole Grain Sandwich with Lean Meat & Salad
  3. Brown Rice & Lean Protein
  4. Sweet Potato, Chick Peas & Lean Meat
  5. Sweet Potato & Chicken

2 hours before the workout

Porridge and Oatmeal are considered the ultimate pre-workout meals. A fruit smoothie is high in calories and fructose. Don’t mistake it with a meal but treat it as a great pre-workout dose.

  1. Fruit Smoothie
  2. Whole Grain Cereal & Milk
  3. Oatmeal with Almonds & Banana
  4. Sweet Potato Porridge

Less than an hour before the workout

If you are in a rush and need quick boost before a workout you still have plenty of options.

Dried Fruits are high in calories (energy) and can be consumed for a quick source of simple sugar. Greek yoghurt is a great source for proteins. Whereas, power bars are full of nutrients including the dried fruits.

Single fruits provide simple carbs that breakdown fast. Get a protein shake if you are lacking protein intake.

  1. Greek Yoghurt & Dried Fruit
  2. Nutrition, Protein or Power Bar
  3. Fruits: Banana, Apple with Peanut Butter
  4. Protein Shake


What Macro Composition Should I Keep?

It depends on your fitness goals.

The most common one to understand is whether to have a low-carb diet or high carb diet.

If you want to do gain muscle, you should have a high-carb diet. (Combine with hardcore workout)

If you want to lose weight, you should have a low- carb diet. (Combine with cardio exercises)

However, the best way to understand what your body requires is to download the Fitness Apps and know you macros.

A Macronutrient Guide: What to Eat Before a Workout

Supplemental Options for a Pre-Workout Meal

Use of supplements in common amongst athletes and body builders. It is poised to improve performance, improve strength and increase lean muscle mass.

Some common Supplements are Creatine, Caffeine, BCAAs and Beta-Alanine. (More on them some other day)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 7 macronutrients?

The 7 macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, fiber, minerals,protein, vitamins, and water.

How many grams of macronutrients do I need per day?

The following are the recommended intake of macros your body needs;
1. Protein, which has 4 calories per gram.
2. Carbohydrates, which have 4 calories per gram.
3. Fat, which has 9 calories per gram.

What is a good macronutrient ratio for weight loss?

For weight loss, the main thing you need to work on is caloric deficit, the ratio of macronutrients remain the same that is 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fats.

What should my macros percentage be?

The recommended ratio for macros is 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fats

What is the best macro ratio for building lean muscle?

The recommended ratio for bodybuilding is as follows:
25%-35% Protein
40%-60% Carbs
15%-25% Fat

How do I calculate my macros for bulking?

For building mass you need to keep your carb intake between 30-40%

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