Think before you start your next workout. What is your goal? You want to build muscle/strength, you want to lose fat or you want to improve performance. Eat before workout is a very important topic. Optimising your pre workout nutrition can help you meet your goals faster
In this post I am going to give you details on what to eat before workout, after workouts. How to eat for fat loss, how to eat for muscle gain.
What to Eat before workout
If you wake up early in the morning you should look at the time you have before you do your workouts.
Let’s say you wake up at 6 a.m and wants to hit the gym at 8 a.m. It makes sense to have a pre workout meal 45 mins to an hour before the workout.
But what if you have just half an hour to hit the gym? In this case it’s better to skip whole food.
Stick with liquid meals, take a whey protein, Creatine, and bcaa supplement and hit the gym. You can also take a piece of fruit like a medium sized apple or a banana.
You can also add a cup of black coffee for better focus and more fat burning!
Should I eat before working out in the morning
Common question most people have is Should I eat before working out in the morning. It is commonly believed that empty stomach workouts leads to more fat burning. Since our body is fasted it will burn more fat. However, this is not entirely true. Research have shown that empty stomach workouts may burn more fat during the workouts but they slow down the overall rate of fat burning throughout the day. Think 24 hours vs 1 hour.
Further research have shown that empty stomach workout leads to more muscle loss.
What to eat before a morning workout?
When it comes to what to eat before a morning workout, it is important to think about carbs. Carbs are the main source of energy and help your body to utilise glycogen to fuel your muscles during workouts. Hence, eating a light meal or snack rich in carbs and some amount of protein will give you sustained energy throughout the session.
Next time when you are thinking what to eat in the morning before workout, you can have oats with fruits and nuts, peanut butter, brown bread, large banana, yogurt, protein smoothie, and two eggs.
What is the best thing to eat before an early morning workout?
The best thing to eat before an early morning workout is a meal mix of carbs and protein. Ideally you can take a scoop of whey protein along with some carbs like oats, boiled potatoes, brown breads.
What to eat after a workout?
One of the common confusion among trainers is what to eat after a workout. A pre-workout meal is very crucial as it allows your body to recover and repair muscle. Hence, choose a meal that is full of protein for muscle repair and enough carbs to recharge your body. Some common post-workout meal you can consider eating is eggs whites with brown bread, banana, oatmeal, brown rice and chicken and sweet potatoes
What to eat 30 minutes before a workout?
Your pre-workout snack directly impacts your performance and how you feel during the session.
Hence, knowing what to eat 30 minutes before a workout is important. A healthy mixture of low
carbs and protein can give you a much-needed energy boost for the session. Few snacks that you can quickly grab right before the workout are bananas, dates, soaked almonds, green smoothies, and coconut water. You should not consume heavy fat or any dairy product to avoid indigestion or cramping.
What to eat before and after a workout for weight loss?
Giving your body enough carbs and some amount of protein is essential in improving your performance for weight loss. A handful of walnuts, sweet potatoes, banana, oatmeal, homemade protein smoothie, and apple are some food that can be taken 2 hours before the workout. If the workout starts within 30 minutes focus on easily digestible snacks with no fat.
For post-workout, taking a meal rich in protein 30 minutes after the session will help your body to restore the lost glycogen and allow a quick recovery. You can take multi grained bread with peanut butter, brown rice, protein shake, and yogurt.
What to eat before a workout to lose weight?
You don’t have to work out on an empty stomach to lose weight. It is always a good idea to fuel yourself before the workout with some easily digestible carbs with a mix of protein while keeping your calories in check. It is best if you can keep 3 hours of gap between the meal and workout. Some foods considered best to eat before a workout to lose weight are Quinoa, sweet, potato, eggs, soaked almond, apple, and fruit smoothie. You should try not to eat food which is hard to digest such as beans, cabbage, fried and spicy food.
What to eat before and after a workout to build muscle?
Getting enough carbs and protein is critical if you are trying to build muscle. Carbs help you with energy to perform longer and protein promotes fast recovery and muscle growth. You may consider eating oats with fruits, berries, almond milk, spinach, protein smoothie, and banana 60 minutes before the workout. As per post-workout meal, you should focus on protein intake covered in a balanced diet of carbs and fat to support muscle growth.
Few eggs, whey protein, chicken with brown rice, fish, curry, and green vegetables can be taken as a pre-workout meal.
What is the best pre-workout meal for muscle gain?
The best pre-workout meal for muscle gain is the one that includes the right combination of carbs and protein. It should combine carbs and protein in a ratio of 3:1. You can include food rich in carbs to fuel your muscles to work harder and longer. Some common pre-workout meals for muscle gain are bananas with oats, brown bread and peanut butter, pasta, eggs, and yogurt.
What is the best pre-workout meal for weight loss?
The best pre-workout meal for weight loss should include enough carb to power you throughout the session and some amount of protein as well. Some food you can include in your pre-workout meals for weight loss is sweet potatoes, banana, oatmeal, apple, and walnut. If you have more than 2 hours before the workout, you can get away with eating a slightly bigger meal but that should not include heavy fat or too much spicy food.
Now that I have answered most of the common Question, let’s begin with who & where we are
Before I begin putting all the piece of puzzles together I want to make one thing clear, my strategies comes from years of experience over myself and 100’s of other clients, however every individual is different and my strategies may still not work for you, in which case take these points as a general information and do what works best for you.
Calculate your Daily Caloric Intake
Before starting any weight training and nutrition program, it is important to know your numbers.
- Calculate your daily caloric need. You can use the calculator below. [cal_calc title=”CALCULATE YOUR OPTIMAL CALORIES” unit=”i” res=”firstname.lastname@example.org” color1=”#325878″ color2=”#4989BE”]
- Create a deficit of 300-400 on it for fat loss. For muscle gain you can add 300-400 calories.
- Strength train 4-5 times a week.
- Eat lots of lean protein, good fats and veggies, and carbs to maintain strength level
- Take measurements every week & pictures every 2 weeks, to check your progress
- Log your diet daily to check if you are on track
- Log your workouts and check them every week to see the changes in strength
- When you are stuck, make minor adjustments, like cut 200-300 calories or add some volume to workout or add 1-2 cardio sessions.
What to eat before morning workout
If you are training first thing in the morning, you don’t have enough time to eat. You can simply take a protein shake or some fruit like an apple or banana and hit the gym.
If you have at least an hour before going to gym, you take meal of carbs and protein. You can take some oats, with dryfruits and milk or you can take brown bread with peanut butter, options are unlimited.
What to eat after workout
What to eat after workout?
If you are regular to the gym, you might wonder what to eat after workout.
Your post-workout meal should comprise carbohydrates for recovery and energy and protein for muscle repair and growth
some common post-workout meal can be
egg whites, with brown bread
protein shake with oatmeal or bananas
grilled chicken with potatoes
What is your daily schedule?
Do you wake up early in the morning or are you just completing a night shift in your office and wants to finish off the day with workout in the gym?
Once you finish the workout you can reward yourself with a post workout shake and a meal later on.
What if you are coming back from the night shift?
Well your day is upside down in that case you have ample time to take your meal and that’s the best way to go about it. Have your meal about an hour before workout.
Are you trying to lose fat or gain muscle mass?
While I generally don’t advice people to Work out empty stomach or with protein only meal, some people prefer to workout empty stomach or with no carb. The philosophy here is that our body is fasted overnight and early morning insulin level is low and Cortisol level is high and our body is already in a fat burning mode so let’s take advantage of that and burn more fat.
Now there are a few things to understand here, this is definitely an effective strategy but it can backfire. The problem here is that while insulin levels are low, Cortisol levels are high and there are serious chances of burning muscle mass to fuel your workout. Particularly for people who have higher metabolism this is not a good strategy.
This is somewhat useful for endomorphic people who have trouble losing fat, even for them this can just be a variation to their regular workout routine and should not be done regularly.
Generally speaking when you are trying to build muscle try to have solid meals before workout and avoid empty stomach workouts, because not only it affects your muscle catabolism it also affects your workout performance.
How do you eat, do you take balanced 5 to 6 meals a day, or prefer to eat 2 to 3 large meals a day?
When it comes to fat loss or muscle building, having a balanced, eating throughout the day routine works better.
Unless you are really pressed for time and can’t eat evenly, it is better to have 3 square plus 2 to 3 snack meals throughout the day.
If you are following an intermittent fasting diet pattern (where you eat all your meals in a window of 4 to 6 hours) you might want to eat all your meals the night before. So you have enough energy for your workouts, at the same time your body gets enough time to digest these nutrients.
If on the other hand you prefer to have a balanced diet approach, you can decide to have a proper meal or shake depending upon your schedule.
What is your Metabolism & Body Type?
- Are you an Ectomorph? – person with high metabolism who loses fat easily but finds difficult to gain muscle.
- Are you a Mesomorph? – person with just the right metabolism, loses fat and gains muscle equally well.
- Are you an Endomorph? – person who gains fat and muscle well, but finds it hard to lose fat
For the people with higher metabolism like the Ectomorphs or Mesomorphs, it is never a good idea to workout empty stomach. If you are an endomorph or someone who is having trouble losing weight you might want to consider protein only breakfast before workout.
What type of workout are you planning to do early morning?
This is a very important point to consider while planning your diet. If you want to do bodybuilding style weights workout, it is important that you have proper energy to fuel your workout. If you just plan to do a short burst of cardio then protein only meal can help to lose fat.
Things might not always sort out. You might be an individual who is trying to gain muscle mass and who has a very fast metabolism and who has very limited time early morning, so what will you do?
Well here is the simple trick, eat your breakfast the night before. Adjusts your overall calories later in the day and consume your next day’s breakfast an hour or so before hitting the bed. This way your muscles would be full of glycogen to push you through the workout next day.
As I am finishing this topic I want to emphasise a very important point. Body works and progresses on an overall daily or weekly basis. What this means is that when you compare your progress weekly basis, that individual pre-workout meal on Thursday or that breakfast Tuesday morning does not matter. What matters is the overall calories, carbohydrates, proteins & fats over the week.
Your turn! I have shared some useful tips on what to eat before workout. If you have any suggestions feel free to write in comments!