In this article I will talk about preworkout nutrition and carbohydrate timing. I will also share what it is and how you can optimize your nutrition and timing to get all the benefits that you’re probably missing out on right now.
Most people are not getting all the benefits of proper pre workout nutrition and carbohydrate timing.
There are a few factors to consider that you probably never have taught about.
And no, proper preworkout nutrition (and the benefits of it) cannot be replaced with a preworkout supplement.
it doesn’t work that way. you will not get the same results, not even close.
It’s like putting bandage on a deeper wound. You might play yourself but you won’t fool your body.
Watch the video below:
What is Pre-Workout Nutrition?
So what is it? what is preworkout nutrition?
Well, It’s just the last meal you eat before you work out. That’s pretty obvious, but like I said:
There are a few factors to consider that will have a big impact on the effectiveness of your preworkout nutrition and so you want to know what you are doing,
and also want to know that WHAT you are doing is the best thing to do, right?
If your preworkout nutrition is on point then you will feel strong, a lot of endurance, you will not feel sluggish, dizzy, sick or nauseas.
So an individual’s digestive system and even training style can absolutely affect your pre workout nutrition, because different people have different tolerances for different foods and food volumes, in your stomach and GI tract. That’s a fact.
I myself have limits where if I eat too much 30 minutes before I train then my workout is going to suck, without a doubt.
I will feel sluggish and nauseas, and it absolutely affects my strength and performance.
The same goes for having a gap of 3+ hours between my last meal and workout.
That is because there are multiple factors that you have to balance, that is:
– The Energy required to train,
– to keep stable blood sugar levels
– ,and have good glycogen stores
– volume in your stomach,
– and blood flow to your GI tract that is being taken away from your muscles.
– There’s also the factor of being so full that you feel like you’re going to puke.
Now between all these factors there is a very very fine balance.
So how can we get the most out of preworkout nutrition and overall carbohydrate timing?
Before getting into the more ‘practical’ what-to-do, lets get into ‘what NOT to do’.
First of all, training Fasted. It doesn’t matter who you are. Anyone who has picked up a weight before in their life, they cannot train anywhere near maximum workloads fasted. This has been measured and looked at in athletes and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Also every coach who works with athletes around the world will tell you anyone trains better unfasted. They train better with getting carbs in their system first.
Eating Too Much
Now, the other end is obviously the problem of eating too much.
A lot of people feel like they need more time before a workout after eating a bunch of oats.
This seems like a problem because of the extra fiber in it causing fullness and a slow digestion.
The same goes for eating a lot of fat preworkout that will cause a lot of acid buildup in your stomach.
I would agree a lot of people are going to struggle with that.
Now obviously there are people out there that can eat a stack of pancakes 10 minutes before going into a brutal squat and deadlift workout and feel great, but most bodies do not tolerate that.
Carb Timing In General
Now lets zoom out a little bit and talk about carb timing in general before getting into the actual preworkout food choices.
It doesn’t matter wether you’re bulking, cutting or doing a recomp. There are some factors to look at here.
The people who are bulking in a larger caloric surplus can spread their foods out more through the day.
People who are trying to lose weight, so they are in some sort of caloric deficit, carb timing starts to become more important.
I’m not talking about post workout nutrition here. Because someone who is only lifting weights once a day, post workout nutrition actually isn’t that important.
The same goes for intra workout nutrition where people take in dextrose with BCAA’s.
I will explain that in a seperate video, because I ramble a lot so that would make the video 10 times longer.
Your pre-workout meal together with your pre-bed meal is the most important.
Carbs Before Bed
If you eat a larger carb meal before bed you would absolutely perform better in the morning.
This is actually what athletes do. They have a standard protocol before any sort of event or serious training day.
They always carb up very heavy the evening before. And this is to make sure they are not even in a true fasted state by the time they wake up in the morning.
This is something you could consider.
Particularly for people who aren’t in a calorie surplus to gain weight.
Good timing becomes important so if you’re getting your carbohydrates in the evening, you’re going to have fuller glycogen stores in the morning. That’s going to give you more training fuel to work on.
Also, if you eat a larger carb meal before bed, it’s not as important that you get a large amount of carbs in the morning.
You need just enough to keep your blood sugar levels stable while you train and you can do that by eating a small amount of simple carbohydrates that morning.
The other major benefit of a heavy carbohydrate meal before bed is that it increases melatonin, your sleep hormone.
This is also one of the sleeping tips for improved fat loss and muscle gains and to get up early.
So getting in a carb meal before bed isn’t a bad idea at all for multiple reasons:
- Increases your recovery
- Increases your training performance the next day
- It let’s you eat less food in the morning if that was a problem
Now, if you’re trying to keep your stomach volume lower, meaning you’re having problems with gastric emptying, nausea, vomiting while you train or you just feel sluggish because you’re digesting too much food.
That’s when you go for more refined carbohydrates. With refined carbohydrates I don’t mean table sugar, because table sugar is 50% fructose, and fructose isn’t a particularly good training fuel.
(Compared to glucose, btw half of the sugar content in most fruits is fructose).
You need glucose based foods. So for people who train in the morning, the first thing in the morning you might consider to eat: white rice, white pasta, white bread or straight up dextrose. Just lower-fiber, faster-absorbing, glucose-based carbs because you need glucose to train on.
That would be a better option than consuming a bunch of sugar. The reason for that is that glucose has a fast absorption rate so it’s going to be in your system quick while maintaining low stomach volume. It’s all glucose, the most viable training fuel that doesn’t have to be processed by the liver like fructose does before you can use it for energy.
Any of those are going to be good choices, faster absorbing carbs. Unless you’re someone who can handle more fiber in your stomach and if you are then oats or something is fine. But you’ve got to consider fiber content versus stomach volume if you’re a person who’s sensitive to that.
That is a very individual thing as there are people that can eat a bunch of bacon, eggs and pancakes and train right after without a problem.
If you’re not one of those people then simpler carbs are fine. You can eat your higher fiber carbs throughout the day. It’s not a big deal. You don’t have to worry about something being faster absorbing if you’re about to burn through it in the gym anyways.
So to conclude this blogpost:
There are multiple factors that you have to consider: Energy required to train, energy to keep stable blood sugar and have good glycogen stores versus volume in your stomach and blood flow to your GI tract that is being taken away from your muscles.
Dont train fasted, dont train on a full stomach (for the majority of people)
Carb timing isnt that important if youre in a calorie surplus.
Carb timing becomes important if youre in a calorie deficit
If you train in the morning or mid-day: Eat a large carbohydrate meal before bed to optimize recovery and training performance.
And before you workout: Eat glucose-based fast digestive foods
Implement these things and I guarantee that your workouts will improve.
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