Your body needs fuel to run. That is why it is beneficial to eat before physical activity since the body needs to replenish its energy reserves. During this period, the body is more inclined to absorb food, in order to restore its energy reserves and repair muscle damage.
This is truer when we embark on anaerobic exercises. Indeed, many experienced athletes will admit; Not getting a well-calibrated meal or a snack before training,will be a definite step towards a failed exercise session. The oppositerings true as well. Some meals and drinks if taken before exercise, can leave you feeling bloated and less hyped out for any physical activity.
How then, do you balance between these two opposite extremes? Happily, nutritional and sports science, have come up with a list of parameters to help you navigate these extremes. There are foods that integrate the body’s energy needs while simultaneously replacing the depleting energy sources.
What to avoid.
For example, while on a normal diet, it is normally recommended that you maintain optimal intakes of vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and lipids for your energy needs. The same cannot be said of pre-workout food.
i. No fats
Lipids for example, are important building blocks of cells. They store twice as more energy than normal carbohydrates and generally constitute a good energy reserve. While this is an important and a major role in the body. They take a longer digestion period.
This is not a good thing, when you are just about to go for training. In fact, Slow digestion means that it interferes with the digestive process of other foods. Consequently, you will have low blood sugar levels thus diminishing athletic performance.
ii. No artificial sugars
A sweet snack before a workout? Very bad idea! This is because, the opposite is true. High blood sugar levels can cause a stroke (hypoglycemia) during exercise.
What foods should be prioritized?
A recent study showed that consumption of low-glycemic foods before playing sports, burns as much calories as those with high-glycemic levels. The glycemic scale is an index indicating the level of glucose in food. For instance,nuts, fruits, and vegetables have a low glycemic index. While white rice has a high glycemic index.
The following is a list of the best pre workout food you can opt for, for the best glycemic combinations:
b) Unsweetened muesli
c) Dried fruit.
d) Cereal Bar
e) Soy drink
g) Brown rice or wild rice
h) Whole bread
i) Whole grain cereals (oat, millet, barley, quinoa, buckwheat)
j) Whole Couscous
k) Dry beans and lentils
It cannot be overstated that for athletes, the consequences of a poor diet are many: This is why a good pre-exercise food regime need to be carefully observed. The potential dangers are many, from the lack of energy, endurance, poor recovery, dizziness, lack of coordination and muscle wasting.
Lastly, remember that water accounts for 60-70% of our body weight. Since most bodily functions like sweating will be accelerated. The water requirements will be far greater than that required for daily needs. Consequently, avoid alcoholic drinks, and drinks high in caffeine. They will dehydrate the body at a much faster rate leading to loss of minerals.