Part one: Pre workout
Anyone with a little common sense and a decent amount of training experience knows that workout nutrition does not have to be that complicated.
Unfortunately, we have been force fed ( no pun intended), lots of contradicting information from uninformed individuals and sports nutrition marketers.
This article will illuminate some of the scientifically based facts about pre and post workout nutrition, so that you don’t have to keep wondering if your whey protein shake is actually worth it.
There are some things that you SHOULD AVOID before training because they either cause an inferior metabolic response or they cause gut and digestive stress.
- Sports drinks that contain sugar in any form whether its high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin or sucrose.
- Foods that are high in fructose because they reduce the body’s ability to use fat for fuel. Also, fermentable foods like apples can wreak havoc in your gut if you consume before exerting yourself. When you train, your blood goes to your limbs, and your digestive tract is left to fend for itself.
- Foods that are fermented in the gut are generally not tolerated well during exercise for the reasons above. This includes wheat, most grains, dairy, and beans.
- Beans and milk contain problematic nutrients. Beans contain a galactoside which we do not digest, but the gut bacteria will. You feed the good bacteria, BUT you will also experience intestinal distress while training. Milk contains lactose, which is sugar that is hard for most people to digest.
- Caffeine in large amounts. This can tax the adrenal glands and cause problems in the long run. Also too much at once can cause a huge spike and crash mid-workout. Using caffeine in moderation, however, has been proven to enhance strength and performance. To get the benefits, you only need 1-4 mg/kg of body weight.
Now that you know what to avoid, these are the foods that you SHOULD EAT before hitting the gym.
- Lean meat and fish are your best options pre-workout because the protein is highly bio-available and will not distress your gut. The omega 3s in fish are anti-inflammatory and increase blood flow.
- Speaking of fat, coconut oil is an excellent choice. It is a medium chain fatty acid, so it bypasses the digestive track and gets absorbed by the liver to be used as an energy source.
- Vegetables with a high water content are hydrating and easy to digest as long as you don’t eat too much. Celery, cucumbers, carrots are healthy choices. They do contain fiber, so eating too much could be problematic.
Part two next week: Post workout
Written by: Sarah Scholl