Pre-Workout Nutrition

Pre-workout nutrition – it’s a heavily debated and somewhat contentious topic. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran on the subject matter, you still may find yourself contemplating where to begin or fervently searching for the optimal approach. To be frank, I don’t believe there’s a one-size-fits-all answer!  In fact, every scientist, trainer, and gym enthusiast I discussed the topic with has diverging and intriguing opinions! Therefore, I’m not here to provide you with the be-all-end-all answer. The intention of this article is just to share the methodology that has worked for me, and others I’ve helped, based on my scientific research and anecdotal evidence.

Regardless of what your nutrition program may currently be, whether it’s low-fat, low-carb, keto, carb-cycling, etc., the approach I use for pre-workout nutrition should be applicable and feasible for you to try.  Here are the fundamentals of my pre-workout nutrition program:

  1. Eat your pre-workout meal approximately 1 – 2 hours before your training session
  2. Consume approximately 30 – 35% of your daily carbohydrate allowance at pre-workout meal
  3. Consume lean protein with this meal
  4. Drink plenty of water
  5. And, take a pre-workout shake if you desire

Now that I described the rudimentary elements of my approach, allow me to further elaborate because I’m sure you have questions.

  1. Eat your pre-workout meal 1 – 2 hours before training

The purpose of eating protein and carbohydrates 1 – 2 hours before training is multi-faceted. First and foremost, it allows for adequate digestion and settling of your meal. More importantly, however, this meal allows the carbohydrates and protein to enter your bloodstream and provide glucose and amino acids to sufficiently fuel your workout. An additional benefit of the meal being 1 – 2 hours before training is that it allows you to take your pre-workout on an empty stomach if you use them.

  1. Consume approximately 30 – 35% of your daily carbohydrate allowance pre-workout

I know this might seem odd to you, or like a tremendous amount of carbohydrates, but let me explain my rationale. The large intake of carbohydrates will lead to higher levels of muscle glycogen, which in turn will promote improved workout performance and decreased fatigue while training. Moreover, carbohydrates foster the release of insulin (an anabolic hormone), which will combat the negative effects of cortisol (a catabolic hormone) being released by your body from the stress-inducing exercise you’re engaging in. Much more detail can be provided here, but I’m just providing the basics for this article.


  1. Consume lean protein with this meal

There are a few reasons I like to consume lean protein pre-workout. It supplies you with fuel for your muscles during training. Having amino acids in your blood stream will help prevent the need for your body to break down the muscle you’re fervently working, which is ideal because we don’t want to create a catabolic environment. Incorporating protein pre-workout also primes your body for the protein synthesis process and fosters an anabolic environment. Lastly, the pre-workout protein ingestion will also work in tandem with the carbohydrates to reduce the levels of the catabolic hormone cortisol.

  1. Drink plenty of water

Entire books are written on the importance of drinking water with respect to exercise and health. I won’t go into great detail, but make sure you drink plenty of fluid pre-workout (I aim for at least 20 fluid ounces pre-workout) and throughout the day! You want to remain hydrated to ensure proper perspiration, prevent muscle fatigue, lubricate your joints, and promote adequate nutrient transport.

  1. Pre-workout energy enhancing shake

Lastly, my pre-workout routine builds in time for you to take a pre-workout energy enhancing shake if you desire. Routinely, fitness enthusiasts will consume these beverages to help increase energy levels and endurance for their workout. These pre-workout shakes are recommended to be consumed on an empty stomach. My 1 – 2 hour pre-workout meal accommodates these requirements.

So that’s my pre-workout nutrition approach. If you give it a shot, please let me know how it works for you. And, as always, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you may have! Now go eat and train hard!



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This