Nowadays, everyone loves talking about their post-workout shake, the protein powder they’re using, and how many gallons of protein they’re downing every day.
And don’t get me wrong, post-workout recovery is essential for making some serious gains.
But why isn’t there as much stress on pre-workout meals?
If anything pre-workout meals are just as important if not more important to your fitness goals.
A great pre-workout meal will help provide you with a ton of energy and improve your performance at the gym.
Have you ever gone to the gym on an empty stomach?
It’s pretty miserable… You have little to no energy, everything feels sluggish and heavy, and you can’t improve on what you did last week.
How are you supposed to get better if you feel tired and slow in the gym?
Here are some plant-based pre-workout tips and tricks, as well as the proper meals you should eat.
Avoid Pre-Workout Supplements
This stuff is so unhealthy and a waste of your money.
Pre-workout supplements are so popular among younger high school kids.
They have this mentality that it’s going to amp them up or have them lift incredible weight – like it’s some kind of adrenaline powder.
Popular pre-workouts like C4, Optimum Nutrition, and many more are just expensive versions of caffeine.
Not only that, but they can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket and lead to long-term heart problems.
Avoid pre-workout supplements altogether.
Drink A Cup Of Coffee
If you want an extra kick for your workout for that heavy leg day, just drink a cup of straight black coffee.
Coffee is made from coffee beans, a natural and organically grown food.
Not like the C4 crap you buy from supplement stores.
Studies show that drinking a cup of coffee helps increase power and endurance, allowing athletes to work harder and for longer periods of time. It does this by increasing your energy levels and improving muscle efficiency.
Instead of taking pre-workout supplements, just make yourself a simple brew of coffee… no sugar, no creamer, no nothing… just straight black coffee.
Not only that, but caffeine increases your body’s metabolic rate which helps burn fat, perfect for people who are intermittent fasting or aiming for a caloric deficit.
The only thing about coffee you have to remember is that over time our body begins to build a tolerance.
If you don’t feel that jolt of energy from your pre-workout coffee anymore, it could be because your consuming it too often. You can easily fix this by taking a short break of a few days with absolutely no caffeine consumption.
To avoid building up a tolerance in the first place – don’t take caffeine before every workout. Instead, only take it for those really heavy days where you’re pushing PR’s on squats, bench, and deadlifts.
Caffeine is a quality supplement and should be treated as such. So next time you’re super tired or need to break that PR you’ve been stuck on for so long, make yourself a simple cup of brew.
Food contains calories.
Calories are burn for energy.
Food = fuel.
Don’t overcomplicate this process… it’s really simple.
Getting the right amount of energy means eating enough of the right foods.
If you want to get the best workout in, eat organic plant-based whole foods high in fast-digesting carbohydrates.
It’s always recommended to eat carbs before a workout because they’re the macronutrients that are digested the fastest, compared to protein and fats which spend more time digesting in the stomach.
Here’s a list of the foods you should be consuming before a workout.
Oats are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, period. The best part is they’re quick to make and provide you with quality carbs, protein, and calories – making them the perfect plant-based pre-workout food. Take your go to dry oats, mix it with a plant-based milk, microwave and add toppings like chocolate chips, fruit, and maple syrup. Tastes delicious and you’ll make some serious gains!
Bananas are super high in potassium and magnesium, both of which are natural muscle relaxants. They contain fast-digesting carbs and restore your body’s glycogen levels which help fight fatigue. That’s why it’s shown that if you’re tired and feeling low energy levels – eat a banana!
Mixed Fruit and Berries – Perfect to resupply energy and get a head start on your post-workout recovery, fruits and berries are a tasty treat that pack a punch! Throw them in a blender with some almond milk and you got yourself a healthy and hearty smoothie packed with antioxidants and carbs.
Apples have super fast-digesting carbs, making them fantastic sources of quick energy. They’re also super light on the stomach so you won’t be feeling bloated or gassy while doing some heavy squats.
We all know Whole Grain Bread is the healthiest kind of bread you can buy (Avoid white bread at all costs). It’s a great form of carbohydrates, but it’s also high in fiber, minerals, and protein. Bread can be topped with a variety of different foods or be used for making a sandwich. My go to is to throw some blueberry jam on top. Ultimately, it’s one of the best pre-workout foods.
Don’t Forget To Warm Up And Stretch
The best way to help get those nutrients to your muscles is by getting in some dynamic stretching in right before your workout.
It also helps prevent injuries and gets your body in the right state to accommodate the heavy weights your about to move.
Not stretching and getting a proper warm up will leave you feeling achy, tired, and all knotted up.
But fair warning: DO NOT STATIC STRETCH
Static stretching is when you hold a stretch for a long period of time say around 10-30 seconds. Unfortunately, studies show that static stretching is no good before a workout!
Static stretching right before a workout elongates the muscles and removes the tension, leaving you weaker. This causes a reduction in performance.
So how do I warm up?
Complete a few sets of dynamic stretching, which is active movement stretching like lunges, squats, burpees, mountain climbers, etc. Dynamic stretching does not hold the stretch. When you reach the top of the stretch, release the hold.
Dynamic stretching pre-workout has been shown to have far better effects for athletic performance.
Drink Some Water
Your muscles are made up of water, and you’re going to sweat a lot of that out when you work out, so going to the gym dehydrated is just a bad idea altogether.
Being dehydrated has a ton of negative side effects:
- Shortness of breath
- Low energy levels
- Can’t sweat
- Overheat easily
- Heart palpitations
Avoid these all together and drink a nice big glass of water (or more) before a workout.
It’s also nice to mention that drinking water will also help digest all the food you eat pre-workout giving you more nutrients!