What should my pre-workout meal consist of and how do i know when to eat it?
Pre-workout nutrition is dependent on many variables…your overall caloric intake – your goals – the time in which you train – and your digestion. We know that protein is needed to stimulate protein synthesis (see below) and muscle growth, that is why I️ recommend spreading protein intake evenly throughout meals. By doing this, you ensure that you’re getting the proper amount of Leucine per meal to stimulate protein synthesis. I’d like to note that an adequate amount of Leucine is dependent on your protein source, ranging between 25-45 grams.
Protein Synthesis: When amino acids are linearly arranged into proteins.
We also know that carbohydrates are our number one source of energy, but did you also know that combining a protein and carbohydrate can sustain protein synthesis? This is crucial if your goal is to gain or retain muscle mass. The amount will vary based on how far out from the work out you are consuming your meal – the further out (1.5 – 2 hours) the more carbohydrates you can tolerate. I typically recommend anywhere between 20 to 30% of your total carbohydrate intake. If you’re in a pinch for time and only have 30 minutes before the workout, you may want to cut your carbohydrate intake in half.
Fats should be limited for your pre-workout, these can slow down your body’s uptake of nutrients. However, the only case I️ would add fats into your pre-workout meal is if your workout exceeds 90 minutes, if this is the case you may want to have a little fat for fuel.