What Should I Eat Before I Train?

Did you know that what you eat, and when you eat, can make a big difference in how you perform and recover from exercise?

Research shows that in the three hours prior to your workout, you want to eat something that will help you…

support energy

enhance or boost performance


with speed and recovery

What Should I Eat Before I Train?

So how do you you make sure you’re meeting your own requirements?

Protein Before Exercise

Eating some protein in that three hour window before training can actually help you maintain or even increase muscle. This is important for anyone who is trying to improve their health, body composition, or performance.

Protein can also reduce markers of muscle damage- or at least help prevent it from getting worse. The less damage to your muscles, the faster you recover and the better you are able to adapt to your training regime over the long term. Protein also floods your bloodstream with amino acids just when you need them the most, also helping with muscle damage and your ability to build muscle.

With that being said, while protein prior to a workout is a great idea, speed of digestion isn’t a huge deal. Any protein source will do the trick so long as it is within about a three hour window of training.

Carbs Before Exercise

Eating carbs before working out not only helps fuel your training, but also helps with recovery. People are often misled that you only need carbs if you participating in a long (more than two hours) endurance exercise. Not true. Carbs can actually enhance shorter-term (one hour) high intensity training as well.

Carbs also help with the preservation of muscle and live glycogen. This is what tells your brain that you are getting enough food and helps with retaining and growing muscle.

Last but not least, they also stimulate the release of insulin. Combined with protein, carbs help improve protein synthesis and prevent protein breakdown. Another reason why eating a mixed meal as opposed to reaching for a shake is a good idea.

Fats Before Exercise

Fats before exercise don’t really seem to improve or diminish sports performance. They also don’t appear to really fuel performance. That’s what carbs are for.

What Fats do, do, is help slow digestion. Slowing up the digestion helps maintain blood glucose and insulin levels, keeping those levels from bouncing all over the place.

Fats also provide some vitamins and minerals…and its important to incorporate some healthy fats in to your diet.

Now that you know a little about the macro breakdown, let me go back to my initial question…how do you know you are meeting your own requirements?

Easy. Listen to your body. Food journal and keep track of not only what you ate, when, but how that food made you feel.

Ask yourself again, is what you’re eating …

Supporting energy? Enhancing or boosting performance? Hydrated?

Remember, there is not one human being on this earth that was created to be exactly the same!

Do what works for you!

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Amber Zuver

Author Bio

Amber seeks to empower women and young girls in strength and to inspire them to not be afraid to step into the gym. Amber finds great joy in helping clients move, perform, look, and feel better! She believes that your training at the gym should transfer over into making your everyday life better as a whole, both physically and mentally.