I spent some time trying to figure this one out, probably because perfection is never achieved. Perfection to me is something to always strive for through the swings of life. This being said, I still sought out to figure out what the healthiest and most efficient pre-work out meal would be.
Though there are some guidelines to take into consideration when concocting your pre-work out meal I’ve discovered the “perfect” pre-workout meal is going to change like the weather. I’ll take you through 2 different scenarios and give you two SUPREME nutrition-packed workout meal ideas and two simple ideas for those in modest means. Each scenario I’ll provide the benefits and the precautions and you can decide and experiment for yourself!
Scenario 1 The Fasted Workout
Basically, In a fasted workout you simply don’t eat anything prior. This method of approaching your pre-workout “meal” has been shown to reduce weight-gain and insulin resistance.
Pros: The combination of fasting and exercise increases the breakdown of fat and using glycogen for energy, effectively helping your body burn fat. Secondly, working out on an empty stomach leaves all your energy devoted to your workout and none to digestion. Likewise, if you were to workout intensely with food still in digestion your sympathetic nervous system will shut off digestion and you could experience the following; undigested food in the GI tract, cramps, gas, and/or bloating. Additionally, short-term fasting and exercise creates acute oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is horrible, it attributes to aging and disease. However, acute oxidative-stress from fasting/exercise actually increases your body’s resilience to chronic oxidative stress. So a fasted workout could act as a powerful anti-oxidant that rejuvenates muscle fibers, and your youth hormones!
Cons: Exercising on an empty stomach forces your body to break down its own muscle mass and convert it into blood sugar. Working on in a fasted state takes some healthy adrenal glands. The fasted state in addition to exercise will temporarily raise stress hormones, which in a healthy individual is a great thing (creating resilience to stress). The issue is a lot of people do not have their blood sugar balanced, and they have but optimal adrenal and thyroid function. If you feel you wouldn’t have the energy for a fasted workout chances are your adrenals and thyroid need attention and eating a meal prior would be highly beneficial.
Fasted “Pre-Workout Meal”
- 1liter of water, a pinch of Real Salt – Simple
- 1cup Raw Celery Juice, 4oz Coconut Kefir, Glutamine Powder, BCAA Powder, Food-Grade Vitamin C Powder – Super Charged
Scenario 2 Healthy Fats Healthy Carbs & Rapidly Digested Proteins
As I already mentioned, there are situations where a fasted-workout “meal” isn’t the best meal choice. In other words, a lot of the time’s in the beginning of starting a workout routine and healthy whole foods diet it’s best to not skip any meals especially breakfast. This is important because most people do not have balanced hormones such as insulin and cortisol. In short, most people wake up and depending on how stressed they are, how much sleep they’ve got, the last time they ate, and more have big factors that play into imbalanced hormones. When you first wake up and blood sugar is too low because they have excess insulin in their blood they must eat something. Making the right choice here is crucial! There are some choices here. First of all, you want your foods to be incredibly easy to digest. I incorporate a Raw Coconut Kefir into this mix because it will actually rapidly assist in the digestion of the food you eat, especially the proteins. You want fast assimilating protein and healthy fat to help balance out the blood sugar. Raw quality is preferred because it is easiest to digest. Below are my two options. One simpler and one that is “super charged” to perfection.
Pros: The positive in consuming the RIGHT meal before a workout is simply that is provides the needed energy. A workout is not going to be affective when your body is out of balance. Eating correctly will help nourish the adrenals and thyroid which will result in the natural energy to get you to experimenting with intermittent-fasted workouts. If what your body needs is a more intense workout 2-3 times a week then eating properly before hand with the options below will provide you the extra nutrition to power through some HIIT training, weight lifting, surf, skate, or flips and tricks in the yard!
Cons: It’s a timing issue. The biggest controversy with eating prior to a workout is that you have to time everything correctly. You don’t want to eat too late after a workout and you don’t want to eat too soon. If you wait too long after you eat your pre-workout meal you miss the whole point which is to optimize blood sugar and insulin levels. On the contrary, if you workout too soon you can disrupt digestion. Once you begin a workout your nervous system triggers your body to shut off digestion and devote its energy to the workout or “stress” at hand. This is the worst thing you can do! Undigested food in the intestinal tract is a breeding ground for disease, so do whatever you can to avoid ever stagnating the digestive process.
Rapid Digest Pre-Work Out
- Raw Grass-Fed Whey Powder and water- Simple
(You can try substituting whey with Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Powder, Vanilla, 2.2 Pound. I would recommend a un-denatured grass-fed whey to be superior because of the amino-acids in high-quality whey activate muscle synthesis. Sunwarrior is a great product but I am not positive on the digestion rate of the cranberry and hemp protein in comparison to whey in terms of rate of assimilation. Remember, you want maximum assimilation with least digestion needed.)
- Vitamineral Supergreens, Coconut Kefir, Raw Egg, Chia Seed- Super Charged!
(Vitamineral Greens alone have amino acids, glutamine, mineral blend and healthy bacteria that will rapidly digest and promote muscle synthesis. The glutamine will absorb directly through the small intestine for rapid brain fuel as well as attributing to muscle synthesis/recovery. The minerals will provide the building blocks for proper adrenal/thyroid function. Raw eggs are natures perfect food. They are great before a workout because they provide great, easy to digest fat, protein. The lecithin in the yolk assists in emulsifying the fat for easy assimilation. The coconut kefir provides maximum hydration with a perfect blend of electrolytes, as well as digest the proteins in the egg and chia seed. Chia provides lasting energy with its additional delivery of omega-3 fats, as well as helps keep you hydrated by helping the body better use the water you take in during a workout.)
Things to COMPLETELY avoid when creating a Pre-Workout
I’m assuming if you’re reading this you are already know NOT to consume any of the obvious; processed food, sugar, refined fats, excessive carbs, alcohol, etc. This are incredibly catabolic and detrimental to the system. Some things you might have no considered though. FRUIT. I would highly recommend avoiding excess fructose prior to work out. Some fresh berries could be a great addition to a post-workout meal but consuming them prior could have an adverse affect. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin which doesn’t correctly suppress the hormones leptin and gherline, which is what tells your body when it’s actually full and when it is truly hungry for nourishment. This could easily cause you to over indulge in a pre-work out meal and post-workout. Which will lead to further insulin problems then diabetes. The affects that fructose has on the metabolism can also prevent the synergistic HGH (human growth hormone) benefits that you receive from proper exercise. And HGH is what keeps you young 😉 isn’t this the whole point? Also, avoid eating meat. High-quality meat is fantastic; however, it takes a lot more digestion (sometimes up to 4-5 hours). And remember the last thing we want to do is eat a hard to digest meal before intense physical exercise.
Well there you have it! My 10 years of nutritional and exercise practice put into my ideal pre-work out meal choices. Experiment with these options and see what works best for you!
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