You know how the old saying goes… “if you fail to prepare, then you are preparing to fail”.
No truer words can be spoken about body building training and for each and every one of your workouts.
Every session in the gym needs to be treated as a battle, and just like any other battle you must enter it with proper mental and physical readiness.
Before you can enter this battle you need to prime your body with the proper pre workout nutrition loading.
A carefully planned pre workout meal will ensure that you enter the gym at peak strength, and will provide your body with the necessary fuel it requires to battle the weights as effectively as possible.
The 3 main goals of any body building training pre workout meal are as follows:
1) Maximize your strength potential.
2) Provide a steady stream of balanced energy for your mind and muscles to use throughout the body building training workout.
3) Minimize muscle breakdown and provide the raw tools for your body to begin the recovery process once the workout is over.
The first thing to make sure of is that you are properly HYDRATED before beginning your workout.
Water plays a vital role in keeping strength and energy levels peaked, so always ensure that you’ve consumed an adequate amount of water in the few hours before you begin your body building training.
Around 30-45 minutes prior to entering the gym you should consume your pre-workout meal.
The first component of this meal is, you guessed it, protein. This protein will keep your body in an anabolic state throughout your workout and will help to prevent muscle breakdown as you train.
I would recommend that you consume 30-40 grams of high quality protein, ideally coming from a mix of whey protein and casein. This can best be accomplished by mixing 25-30 grams of whey protein in 300-400ml of skim milk.
Whey protein makes for a great pre-workout meal because it is naturally high in BCAA’s, which help to prevent muscle catabolism during your workout.
Mixing your whey with milk is a good idea because this will slow down the release of the protein and provide your body with a steady stream of amino acids throughout your body building training.
Along with your protein shake you should also consume 1-2 portions of LOW-GLYCEMIC carbohydrates.
Low glycemic carbohydrates are ideal before the workout because they are broken down and absorbed gradually in the bloodstream, providing your body with a steady stream of energy throughout your workout.
When you consume high glycemic-type carbohydrates (sugary energy bars, etc.) which are rapidly released into your bloodstream, your body will respond with a surge of insulin in an attempt to level out your blood sugar.
This will result in a quick rise in insulin levels followed by a sharp fall. The drop in insulin will leave you feeling weak, tired and sluggish, and this is the LAST thing you need in the middle of a high intensity workout!
So stick with carbohydrates that won’t cause this rapid fluctuation in insulin levels at any point in your body building training session.
Pre-workout carbohydrate choices such as oatmeal, apples or brown rice will provide your body with a steady stream of sugars throughout the workout and will keep your energy levels peaked at all times.
This pre workout food and diet should be fairly small to allow for easy digestion and to prevent you from feeling sick when you train
You should NEVER workout without a solid body building training pre workout food in you first!
So, to recap:
For a meal taken 30-45 minutes before your body building training session:
1) 25-30 grams of whey protein mixed with 300-400ml of milk
2) 1-2 servings of slow release carbohydrates (i.e. Oatmeal, brown rice, apple)
I also like to throw in a cup or two of coffee before my workouts as I find that this increases my energy and amplifies my focus nicely.
There are also 3 other highly important times throughout the day to pay special attention to the foods and supplements that you consume. Go read more guides here!