If you have just recently started going to the gym to train, the connection between your progress and nutrition may not be obvious to you yet. But if you exercise regularly, say 3 – 4 times a week or more, you will realize that you may not be able to eat the way you ate before when climbing the stairs to the second floor was probably the heaviest physical activity you did.
But why should the diet change with increasing training load? The obvious reason is that your body’s need for nutrients increases as you exercise. For example, since the body’s consumption of iron increases with any physical activity, the amount of this trace element in the diet should also increase.
Knowing the nutrition rules before training is crucial. If you do not take into account the changing nutritional needs of the body, the immune system will weaken, and your progress will slow down. At best, you will often catch a cold and feel slightly unwell, and at worst, your internal organs may suffer.
Why Athletes Need Proper Nutrition
Regular training, alternating between physical activity and recovery, is a condition necessary for progress in sports, but it is insufficient by itself. In addition to a workout program and enough sleep, you need to eat right.
Proper nutrition before training is an important factor that helps you achieve the highest strength indicators as well as the rapid growth of muscle mass. That is why it is so important to know the basic rules of nutrition and understand what and when to eat before a workout as an athlete.
Important Nutrition Rules Before Training
Knowing what kind of workouts you intend to do, you can choose the optimal mode and type of nutrition that is best for you. For example, if the goal is to gain muscle mass, you should ensure you consume nutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates before starting a workout. The fact is that if you don’t have enough energy, full-fledged strength training will be impossible.
It is important to know that carbohydrates give the body more energy than proteins. They can also protect muscles from decay. It is especially useful to take carbs immediately after training during the so-called “anabolic window” — the period starting half an hour after a workout session and ending an hour and a half after it ends.
During the window, muscle tissue is in dire need of carbohydrates, which should help it recover and increase in size. However, some trainers and nutritionists believe it is much more important to simply include enough carbohydrates in the daily diet and not focus on timing.
The benefits that protein has on the process of gaining muscle mass are undeniable. It is why including NOWAY protein powder in the diet before training is often recommended.
At the same time, it is important to calculate the amount of protein you require correctly. Research indicates that an average adult should consume about 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of weight daily.
Dry weight is taken into account, that is, minus the fat mass, because the adipose tissue does not consume energy or participate in metabolism. On average, it turns out that an athlete needs to consume about 30 grams of protein before training.
It is important to understand that the purchase of sports nutrition is not mandatory at all. You can make an effective, balanced diet without including sports nutrition in the menu.
Those who do not want to spend money on special supplements can be advised to eat a hearty meal about three hours before training to charge the body with proteins and carbohydrates. At the end of the session, it will be enough to take half the norm of proteins.
Plant-based energy sources are considered the best option for eating before training. Meat takes much longer to digest. Therefore, you should avoid it before a workout.
The most important nutrition rule before training is to calculate the eating time correctly. You should know that proteins are absorbed much faster, and thus it is best to consume them no earlier than half an hour before a training session. A regular lunch or dinner should be a few hours before the workout.
The time of eating before training is vital. To maximize the results of your fitness program, you need to eat 2-3 hours before training with a complete diet containing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
If you eat closer to your training time, say 45-60 minutes before your workout, choose foods that are easy to digest and contain mostly carbohydrates and a little protein. Nonetheless, what foods and how much to eat depends on the type, duration, and intensity of exercise.
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Examples of a Balanced Diet Before a Workout
If your training session starts in 2-3 hours or more;
- Sandwich with whole grain bread, low-fat protein, and a side dish
- Egg omelet and whole grain toast with avocado and a cup of fruit
- Lean protein, brown rice, and fried vegetables
If your workout starts within 2 hours;
- Protein shake made from milk, protein powder, bananas, and mixed berries
- Whole grain porridge and milk
- Cup of oatmeal with banana and chopped almonds
- Natural almond butter and canned fruit on whole-grain bread
If your workout starts within an hour;
- Greek yogurt and fruit
- A nutritious bar with protein and healthy ingredients
- A piece of fruit
Keep in mind that you don’t need to eat a lot of food before training at different times. Just choose the most convenient option for you.
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Proper nutrition before and after training is important because it provides the nutrients you need to live, prevent diseases, and recharge your energy levels. Ensure you follow the above nutrition rules before training to stay healthy and achieve your fitness goals.
This is a contributed post.
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