You’ve got your gym kit ready, your workout playlist composed and your fancy water bottle filled. The requisite research on cutting is complete and you’re fully conversant in compounds. There’s just one area you might have neglected. Yep, if you’re going to get the results you yearn for, it’s essential to get your nutrition right. We’re not talking about those pre-workout supplements and shakes that make you gassy and suspicious, rather proper, healthy food and that complements any effort you exert in the gym. With this in mind, here are 5 IDEAL diet tips for your pre workout.

CARBOHYDRATES

Dietary advice is forever shifting. Butter morphs from unhealthy to good-for-you faster than it melts, safe alcohol units shrink in volume and debates continue about what the right type of sugar is. Never is this more fickle than when discussing carbs. More recent wisdom has suggested that eating carbohydrates before you exercise can not only improve your performance, but also help you workout for longer at potentially a higher capacity. In layman’s terms, if you push it hard enough in the gym, carbs transition from being ‘bad’ for you to ‘good’.

To recover, your muscles need to replace their glycogen stores, and ‘carb loading’ is probably the most effective way to do this. Just ensure you burn off the energy with a rigorous workout for it to make sense.

TIMING IS KEY

It’s thought that the best time to eat pre-workout is between 30 minutes to three hours before your workout, depending on the meal size. If you’re eating a large meal, science suggests that it’s wise to eat around three hours before working out. In turn, small snacks should be consumed, at the very least, 30 minutes before you exercise. If you eat just before (as in, less than half an hour prior to the workout) you’ll be digesting your food on the gym floor, which could make you sluggish and sick.

According to the NHS, about an hour before you start exercising, consuming a light snack that contains protein, as well as being higher carbohydrates and lower in fat, is a good idea. This should help you perform better during your training and help your recovery afterward. Snacks eaten just before exercise won’t give you that added energy, so give them a miss.

FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE

As we’ve said, eating too much before a workout can leave you feeling sluggish, whereas having too little may not give you enough energy to exercise to your full potential. Moreover, not eating at all before a workout can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded and a little sick. And if you’re feeling sluggish and lightheaded, you’re more likely to injure yourself. Even if you don’t feel any of these symptoms, skipping a snack or meal pre-workout will impact your performance and reduce your gains. It’s all about finding the right balance, and learning via experience with what you’re most comfortable with.

HAVE A CUP OF JOE

Here’s a magic ingredient your PT won’t always recommend; coffee. Or, to be more precise; caffeine. Yep, studies have suggested that having a pre-workout coffee can do wonders for your energy levels, accelerating fat loss and decreasing muscle pain (within safe parameters).

It’s said that you’ll need to leave around 45 minutes for the caffiene to fully kick in, so time your cup of Joe accordingly. Interestingly, many pre workout supplements rely on this magic ingredient for their energy giving qualities anyway. Just be sure to enjoy coffee in conjunction with a snack or your usual meal plan for best results. If you want to move from curious to connoisseur, have a look at this website to find the right fit for you. Happy energised exercising!

DON’T FORGET TO KEEP HYDRATED

Adam’s Ale. So innocuous and to some, so bland. But to gym goers intent on performance, actually so vital. Indeed, if you don’t keep yourself well hydrated with water, it’s going to have a major impact on your performance, and this means throughout your workout as well as before it. Water serves to regulate your body temperature and keep muscles lubricated, meaning it’s essential for avoiding injury. Without it, you’re far more susceptible to strains, pulls and tears. So, always keep one handy and if you’re exercising at high intensity for extended periods, consider an isotonic sports drink which has added calories and potassium. Result.

 

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.