Pre-workout diet for weight loss or weight gain: Everything you need to know

  Pre-workout diet for weight loss or weight gain: Everything you need to know

Pre-workout diet for weight loss or weight gain

      Anyone who has followed a diet in combination with a training program has probably at some point been introduced to the idea of ​​pre-workout nutrition. It is present in many programs, including some of those that I prepare.

   But why should you add such a diet to your diet, how important is it to achieve your goal and do you have to eat just before training? You will find the answers to these questions in the article.

What is pre-workout nutrition?

     Pre-workout nutrition is a small, light, additional meal that we distinguish from the main and intermediate meals for the day. It is usually taken 15 to 30 minutes before a workout and is a dose of protein, and sometimes a few carbohydrates are added.

What is its main purpose?

     The idea of ​​this diet is to charge you with additional nutrients to counteract the catabolic (degrading) processes in the body during exercise, and in general - for more strength and energy.

Why do you need it?

     Throughout the day, the body constantly breaks down proteins (protein breakdown) and synthesizes new ones (protein synthesis), and the balance between these two processes is key to maintaining and increasing lean muscle mass.

    And research  shows that during strength and cardio training, protein synthesis gradually decreases, and after the end of the load and synthesis, and the breakdown increases sharply, but the breakdown reaches much higher values.

   In short, training stimulates the catabolic processes that break down muscle mass - especially if it is performed on an empty stomach or is very long (which I do not recommend).

     And whatever your goal - be it lifting or losing weight and tightening - your goal should always be to maintain maximum muscle mass. This is done by counteracting the breakdown of proteins and keeping their synthesis at higher values.

     You can maintain your muscle mass by training optimally without overloading and more importantly - by following a well-structured and complete diet that provides you with enough protein at regular intervals throughout the day to feed the processing process. of proteins and counteract their breakdown in the body.

   Pre-workout nutrition is more of a small detail in your diet to help you get more protein if you haven't eaten well in the hours before your workout.

   It is especially suitable for people who train early in the morning without having time for a hearty main meal before training.

     In such cases, I advise strength training to be performed about 30 minutes after at least 1 dose of protein, which acts as a pre-workout diet to help the body fight muscle breakdown during physical activity, and to give extra energy.

    And if you train later in the day, after you have already gotten at least 1-2 basic meals containing protein, you do not need to include in your menu pre-workout meals, unless you really do not need extra energy - for heavier workouts when you work for muscle mass, or if you are quite severely calorie deficient when trying to clear fat.

    So, after getting acquainted with pre-workout nutrition and in which cases it is necessary, it is time to understand what exactly it should contain (besides protein).

    Do you need to add carbohydrates to your pre-workout diet?

    Here the issue is slightly controversial and there are basically two ideologies.

1."For" carbohydrates in the pre-workout diet

    According to some studies,  eating 30-40 grams of carbohydrates (in addition to protein) 15 to 60 minutes before a workout improves strength performance because of the energy it gives the body. In addition, it helps for better recovery after a workout.

   Carbohydrates raise the levels of glucose (blood sugar), which is an easily accessible source of energy. In this way, the body uses it first, retaining muscle glycogen for later. This is good news, as glycogen is a limited source of energy and can be depleted during long and heavy workouts and leave you without energy.

   This strategy is especially suitable for muscle building programs, where training is really heavy and requires more energy, and the extra calories from carbohydrates are not a big problem, because it is not chasing a calorie deficit, but an excess.

   But this approach has its drawbacks, which justify the second point of view, which I share.

2. "Against" carbohydrates in pre-workout nutrition

    Yes, carbohydrates provide extra energy, but they are also extra calories. In addition, carbohydrate intake increases insulin levels  . And high insulin during exercise limits the oxidation (burning) of body fat.

     Therefore, if your goal is to lose weight and clear up, carbohydrates in the pre-workout diet are not the best idea. If you skip them and rely only on protein, you will create the right hormonal environment to burn fat.

   This strategy is suitable even for gaining muscle mass - especially if you want to gain as much weight as possible without getting fat.

    For these reasons, I rarely include carbohydrates in the pre-workout diet of clients, because in most cases their goal is to lose weight, clear or increase  lean  muscle mass.

Do you need to include fat in your pre-workout diet?

    If you ask me, this question is superfluous, but we talked about protein and carbohydrates anyway, so why not mention fats…

    In general, you can include some fat in your pre-workout diet. This will not interfere with your results, but it will not improve them much. 

    And if you're on a weight loss and cleansing regimen, you need to be even more careful, because fat is more than twice as high in calories as protein and carbohydrates. So adding them to a supplement such as a pre-workout can break your calorie deficit.

Suitable nutritional supplements before training

    By "pre-workout nutrition", some people also understand loading the body with certain nutritional supplements before starting training.

    What will be the right nutritional supplements to take in this time interval depends mainly on your goal.

   Of course, in the first place comes  whey protein powder , which can be used as a pre-workout diet in regimens for both weight loss and muscle gain.

    In addition, if your goal is to lose weight, clear and tighten, you can bet on L-carnitine , synephrine , BCAA and others. And if the goal is to increase muscle mass, you can add creatine , glutamine and others to the protein  .

A few ideas for pre-workout nutrition

Here are two options for pre-workout nutrition that I usually rely on:

Dose of protein powder

Protein powder

     As I mentioned several times in the article, a dose of protein powder is the easiest and fastest option for a pre-workout diet.

   Just dissolve the protein in a glass of water and take it 20-30 minutes before your workout. 1 dose of protein (30 grams) usually contains between 130 and 150 kcal.

Protein omelette with vegetables

Protein omlette

   This is an interesting and easy to prepare recipe. The omelet is prepared only from 4-5 well-beaten egg whites (without the yolks). Put a little olive oil on the pan, pour the beaten egg whites, add 100-150 grams of vegetables, season to taste and you're done.

     My choice of vegetables is usually spinach, green onions, peppers and tomatoes. And red and black pepper, a little parsley and a pinch of sea salt go very well as spices. 1 serving of this omelet will provide you with about 220-250 kcal.

In conclusion

    When it is needed, pre-workout nutrition can be a hidden trump card in the sleeve of anyone who exercises and follows a diet. 

    The main ones to focus on are the proper distribution of calories and macronutrients in the overall diet and the optimal, focused load from strength training and cardio.

You are on the move!

What do you think about pre-workout nutrition - do you need it in your diet or do you do well without it? You can share in the comments section below the article!

Sources and research:

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