Best Pre Workout Foods For Maximum Growth To Turn You Into A Beast – Generation Iron Fitness Network

bent over flys


bent over flys

The best pre workout meals for max gains!

There are many individuals who believe that getting massive and jacked is all about how much weight you put on the bar, but the best pre-workout foods can take you a long way. While lifting big is true to some extent, there’s a lot more that goes into it. Whether you’re a professional bodybuilder or just your average gym rat, the reality is that when you’re looking to build up your muscle you need to have fuel. No, not gasoline you dolt. Save the petrol for your car and open up your eyes to the realities of fueling your body for a tough workout with the right foods and dietary supplements to optimize sports nutrition.

Eating foods that are going to provide you with that extra kick before you head to the gym can be paramount to whether you make some insane gains or if you simply remain skinny or fat. Sure, you could head to the gym without eating anything, try to lift like a madman and find that you break under the pressure. The reality of the situation is that in order to have consistent energy for your workouts it requires eating foods that are going to provide you with that extra kick.

 

For the natural bodybuilder who is trying to avoid consuming pre workout powders, consuming whole foods are going to be a priority. But in order to see the best kind of results, consuming the right kind of macronutrients is going to be paramount to success. We all know what the macronutrients are by now, namely carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Each nutrient has it’s specific usages.

nutrient partitioning

The Power Of Macronutrients For Pre-Workout Meals

Making sure we cover our balance of macronutrients is incredibly important as you seek the best for all your gains. With the proper intake of protein, carbs, and fat, you will ensure the best gains and see the desired growth you want most. For that pre-workout push, this will for sure give you the best when looking to optimize all your gains and lose weight.

Carbohydrates

Consuming the right kind of carbs before a challenging workout is extremely important for a number of reasons. For one, it makes a great energy source that allows the human body to push itself to new heights (1). You can’t simply eat a piece of chicken and think your body is going to go into overdrive. The idea behind eating carbs is to eat the right kind of carbs for the right occasion. If you’re someone looking do a ton of cardio, then you’re likely to consume a mix of slow burning and fast burning carbohydrates.

Slow burning carbs (carbs with a low glycemic index) such as legumes, beans, whole grain breads, and pastas can contribute to slower released energy throughout your exercise. That means glucose is slowly pumped into the muscles. So if you plan on going for a long run or doing activities that consist of a ton of cardio work, then this type of carbs will be a good option for the top quality pre-workout meals.

Fast burning carbs (carbs with a high glycemic index) are foods with a higher sugar content and contribute to energy being released faster throughout your exercise. This can include some fruits, yogurts, white breads, and pastas. Glucose is released into the muscles far faster than low glycemic foods and can be great if you’re trying to get a really good pump.

 

Understanding the differences between these two types of carbs are paramount for getting the right kind of energy for your particular workout. Those easy to digest carbs can enhance muscle function, and in tandem with protein, inhibit muscle breakdown to only amplify your workout routine.

Fats

While carbs are often the go to source for energy, fats can also be utilized as an energy source as well. But as far as the best food for pre-workout are concerned, using fats as your sole energy source can be a bit more problematic. Since fats are digested far slower than carbohydrates, consuming too much before a tough workout can end up making you feel lethargic. That’s not to say it can’t be done, it’s just that you have to choose your fats wisely.

Protein

Consuming protein before a grueling workout is a great idea to ensure proper protein intake. While it may not be an energy source, the reality is that if you’re going to be pushing your body to the limit, you’re going to want to prevent muscle catabolism. Enter protein, the key ingredient to building strong, quality muscle.

Most often associated with those post-workout needs for muscle mass and muscle recovery (2), it does not hurt to put protein into your pre-workout meal to keep that macro balance as high as possible. Plus, you can get some great fuel too with essential amino acids and quality protein shakes to increase muscle protein synthesis and boost athletic performance.

Importance Of Timing For A Pre-Workout Meal

Keep in mind that what time you consume your foods is also of paramount importance, especially with a hard workout. If you’re looking to workout within a thirty minute window of consuming your food then high glycemic foods are going to be your best bet. But if you’re looking to train about two hours after your meal, then consuming lower glycemic foods are a better bet so that your energy stores stay full long enough until you’re ready to get into the gym (3).

So what are some of the best pre workout foods you can eat to maximize your growth? Well, take a look at the list below to get some unique ideas for your pre workout food nutrition.

best pre-workout foods

High Glycemic Options

To make sure you make the most of your pre-workout needs, those high glycemic options can better fuel and prepare you for a long workout ahead. Let’s take a look at some high glycemic options to better prepare you for all of those intense workouts.

Bananas

Bananas are a great source of natural sugars, simple carbohydrates and potassium. This food is on the higher end of the glycemic index so consuming a banana around thirty minutes to an hour before your workout is a good idea. Potassium will help when it comes to preventing cramps to keep you operating at a higher level.

Greek Yogurt and Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is high in sugar and high in calories. It shouldn’t be a consistent go to, but when used correctly it can be a very effective energy source, especially when mixed with Greek yogurt. It’s one of the best pre workout foods you could consume because while the dried fruit provides a carb energy boost, the Greek yogurt provides some great protein to bolster your gains. You’re going want to consume this an hour to an hour and a half your workout.

Fruit Smoothies

Many people think fruit smoothies are great tasting and super healthy. While smoothies pack a nutritionally dense punch, they also contain a ton of sugars including fructose. That means high calories. However, consuming a fruit smoothie pre workout is one of the best pre workout foods you can consume with fast acting glucose. Plus, to cover those protein needs, you can always add a scoop of whey protein or other great powders as well to make great protein shakes.

Apple Wedges and Peanut Butter

Sliced apple wedges with a small spread of peanut butter is a simple and effective way to get some energy before hitting the gym. If you’re looking for an easy snack that’s one of the best pre workout foods around, then consume this thirty minutes before your workout to be sufficiently energized. And who doesn’t love this great tasting snack!

best pre-workout foods

Low Glycemic Options

While knowing of high glycemic options, we also wanted to share some lower options so you can better have a handle on a variety. Knowing what is available to you will help make those decisions just that much easier.

Chicken, Rice and Vegetables

This is a bodybuilding classic for a reason and one of the best pre workout foods you can ask for. Combining a good source of lean protein and complex carbs this meal promotes anabolic growth and is a slow releasing energy source. Eating this meal two to three hours before training is advised for full digestion and no workout discomfort.

Porridge and Oatmeal

Porridge and oatmeal are a great pre workout breakfast. The meal contains complex carbs and provides soluble fiber. Consuming oats two hours before a workout will satisfy your hunger throughout your training and provides great slow releasing energy. Try adding a scoop of protein powder to ensure growth and obtain muscle protecting amino acids.

Whole Grain Bread, Sweet Potato, and Brown Rice

Wholegrain bread, sweet potato, and brown rice are great sources of complex carbohydrates that should be consumed up to three hours before your training. Combining these foods with a good source of protein will give you great energy for a longer session. The protein will provide protection for the muscles and aid in potential muscle growth.

Omelette

What’s a better protein source than eggs? It’s one of the best sources you can find and that’s why an omelette before training can give you a great muscle building boost. It’s one of the best pre workout foods you could ask for. Consume an omelette two to three hours before a workout get some great energy, promote bigger muscle tissue and growth, and allow for the digestion of all those great nutrients.

Final Thoughts

The best pre-workout foods will better prepare you for any workout ahead. With the right balance of macronutrients, you will set yourself up with carbs, protein, and fat so all those nutritional needs are covered with the right pre-workout foods. Knowing specific food options are key for these will help structure your diet and nutrition plan for you can meal prep and not worry about the hassle of preparing food. Making life easier on yourself will allow to thrive inside and out of the gym. Try these pre-workout foods and watch those workout gains take off, especially when mixed with post-workout nutrition.


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*Images courtesy of Envato

References

  1. Jequier, E. (1994). “Carbohydrates as a source of energy”. (source)
  2. Pasiakos, S.; et al. (2015). “The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review”. (source)
  3. Jamurtas, A.; et al. (2011). “The effects of low and high glycemic index foods on exercise performance and beta-endorphin responses”. (source)





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About the Author: Eugene Berry