Nutrition – Part 2

Depending on what you eat and how fast your food is digested, your pre-workout meal should be consumed around an hour before your strength training workout. What type of food and nutrients you consume directly affects your ability to push yourself to your maximum potential during your time in the gym. You may be able to push yourself a little harder by getting an extra couple of reps or increase the weight you lift if you eat a proper pre-workout meal. Remember, your body’s main source of energy comes from glycogen, which is stored in the muscle cells and is easily converted to glucose. It's very important that our energy/metabolism system works efficiently. We convert glucose into energy after we consume food because there is a rise in blood-glucose levels and the pancreas releases insulin, which then travels through the bloodstream and helps to regulate body mechanisms. I will try to put this in simple terms and tell you that you need to eat carbohydrates to provide your body with the proper amount of energy before you workout. The best form of carbohydrates to eat pre-workout are a low GI (Glycemic carbohydrates). Thus you will not have a spike in your insulin levels and be able to sustain a substantial amount of energy through the workout. In other words high GI carbohydrates may cause one to have a lot of energy at the beginning of the workout, however it will then quickly taper off. I do think that it's somewhat dependent on the person and the type of workout they are doing as well. Remember, right now we are discussing weight training.   There are many benefits to eating a low GI diet — not just pre-workout.  
  • Energy levels stay balanced which means you will feel fuller for longer between meals
  • Low GI diets help people lose and control weight
  • Low GI diets increase the body's sensitivity to insulin
  • Low GI carbs improve diabetes control
  • Low GI carbs reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Low GI carbs reduce blood cholesterol levels
  • Low GI carbs can help you manage the symptoms of PCOS
  • Low GI carbs reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
  • Low GI carbs prolong physical endurance
  • High GI carbs help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
If you are not aware of what a Low GI carbohydrate is, you can find many examples of the GI index online.   Now that we are all eating our carbs in our pre workout meal, we cannot forget to include a protein source. Protein is the building block for our muscles and it is very important to consume prior to working out. Protein shakes can be a great source because they are absorbed faster. Axis makes a very delicious whey protein that includes whey isolate, micro ultra filtered whey concentrate, and whey peptides with 22 grams of protein and all the essential amino acids needed to build muscle. I would recommend mixing a shake and hitting the weights. If you prefer to eat your food before you workout, then a simple plate of chicken and rice can be a great pre-workout option. Some people have a hard time eating close to the time of training, so a shake that consists of a carbohydrate source and a whey can be quick, easy, and convenient. It is also important to make sure it is low in fat. Fat actually slows the digestion of our food and is not necessary in our pre- or post-workout meals. Once we have a pre-workout meal down, we are halfway there and can expect to have a better workout, and in return get the results that we are striving for.   Next we will discuss post-workout meals — a meal that is just as important!