If you're looking to maximize your efforts toward performance and physique, dialing in your pre-workout nutrition is a good place to start.
It's important to know the basics of pre-workout nutrition in order to reap the most benefit from it. In this article, we break down everything you need to know to maximize your results in and out of the gym.
Fasted vs Non-Fasted Training - Should You Eat At All?
The first question to answer is whether or not you should be eating pre-workout at all. The truth is, it depends on your goals and personal preferences. If you're into fasted training - that is, training with limited food in order to maximize fat burning - then you may choose to skip the pre-workout meal altogether. However, if you're trying to build muscle or strength, then getting a solid pre-workout meal in can be incredibly beneficial.
Pre-Workout Meal Timing - When Should You Eat?
Timing is everything when it comes to pre-workout nutrition. If you're looking to maximize nutrient uptake and fuel your body for the best workout possible, then you should aim to eat your pre-workout meal about 1 to 2 hours prior to starting your workout. This gives your body enough time to digest the food and begin absorbing nutrients before you hit the gym.
What Should You Eat as a Pre-Workout Meal?
While there is no one-size-fits-all pre-workout meal, there are a few key components to consider when creating your own.
First, focus on complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This will provide you with sustained energy throughout your workout.
Second, include some lean protein to fuel muscle repair and growth.
Third, healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocado can help boost testosterone levels and aid in recovery.
Lastly, consider adding a caffeine source to further enhance your performance.
Stimulant vs Non-Stimulant Pre-Workouts:
Another important consideration is the type of pre-workout you choose.
There are both stimulant and non-stimulant pre-workouts available, so it's important to know what works best for you.
Stimulants can provide a quick boost of energy and focus, but they also have side effects like jitteriness and anxiety.
Non-stimulant pre-workouts are a great option for those who don't want to deal with the side effects of stimulants, but they won't provide that same immediate energy boost.
Using Vasodilators Like L-Citrulline to Your Advantage
In addition to pre-workout nutrition, you can also benefit from using a vasodilator like L-Citrulline in your pre-workout routine.
Vasodilators help increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to your muscles during exercise, which can help maximize strength and performance. Citrulline also helps improve endurance by reducing lactic acid buildup, which can lead to faster recovery times.
The Mind-Muscle Connection, Acetylcholine, and Huperzine A
The mind-muscle connection is a concept that has been around for a long time and it remains as important today as it ever was.
The ability to focus on the muscle you are working, while mentally pushing through a difficult set, can make all the difference in terms of how much weight you can lift.
To help maximize this effect, you can use supplements that are sources of choline, and help increase acetylcholine levels.
Compounds like alpha-GPC, cpd-choline, and choline bitartrate, which are found in most pre-workout formulas, help accomplish this easily, while herbs like huperzeria extract (huperzine A) help inhibit the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine in the brain.
The Effect of Breathing on Nitric Oxide
Don't overlook breathing when it comes to your gains in the gym - research shows that simply breathing through the nose (instead of mouth breathing) can increase nitric oxide production up to 6 times, which can help improve the overall anabolic impact of your workout by increasing endogenous IGF-1 and GH release.
Pre-workout nutrition is an important part of any bodybuilding or strength training program. When done properly, it can provide you with increased energy, focus, and muscle growth. Furthermore, the use of supplements like vasodilators and compounds that enhance the mind-muscle connection can help maximize your performance even further. Finally, proper breathing technique can help increase nitric oxide production, which can lead to further gains in the gym. So, if you're serious about reaching your goals, make sure you take pre-workout nutrition seriously too!