< Back to AK-Life

Pre-Workout Nutrition


Do macros matter for an athlete in a caloric deficit?

Often times we hear about post-workout nutrition, however, it is very important to talk about pre-workout nutrition as well. In order to maximize your training session and get the most out of the hard work you’re about to put in, it is essential for you to be fueled properly.
Without pre-workout nutrition, you may not be able to lift as much, or go as far.  Furthermore, it may impede recovery to an extent.
What is important for pre-workout nutrition? Carbs and protein!
Before a workout, be that strength training or endurance/aerobic training, you want to ensure that your muscle glycogen levels are full. This will provide you with the fuel that you will use during your session. Additionally, you want to ensure you have protein before the workout so that you are in an anabolic state versus a catabolic state. 

What about fats & fiber?

Fats are of course important in one’s diet, however, regarding your pre-workout meal, fats don’t play a huge role. It is recommended to avoid fats around 1 hour before your workout. If you are planning to eat a meal 3-4 hours before your workout, fats are fine to consume, however, if you are eating 1 hour before, you would want to limit fats as it will slow down digestion and we want to be able to digest our carbs right before our session. The same goes with fiber as well. 3-4 hours before a session, feel free to have lots of fiber, however 1 hour before a session we would want to limit how much we consume, as it can cause GI distress and slow down digestion. 

What type of pre workout carbs should you have? 

The type of carbs you eat will depend on when you are consuming your pre-workout meal. If you are consuming your pre-workout meal 30-60 minutes before your session, choose something that is quick and easy to digest, for example fruits like watermelon, banana or grapes. Or you can even have some plain white rice or rolled quick oats. If you are eating 1-2 hours before the session then you can do slower digesting carbs like steel cut oats, brown rice, apples, pears, potatoes, pasta etc. And if you are having your pre-workout meal 2-3 hours before your session you can have any type of slow digesting carbs in addition to having some fats and fiber with this meal as you have more time to digest it before your session. 

What about protein? 

Essentially you want to ensure that amino acids are circulating throughout your blood stream during your workout. Depending on when you eat, you would want to choose easier to digest proteins closer to the session like dairy or protein powders versus choosing chicken, fish or beef if you are eating 3-4 hours before the session. The most important step is to consume some type of protein pre-workout. 

   1 hour before (easily digested carbs and protein)
   Protein shake with banana and berries made with milk and whey protein
   Greek yogurt with oranges and melon
   2 hours before (carbs and protein)
   Potatoes, berries and chicken breast
   Oats, banana, egg and egg whites
   3 hours before (carbs, protein, fat and fiber)
   Rice, salmon, green beans, olive oil
   Potatoes, avocado, lean ground beef, broccoli 


Importance of a Warm Up! Plus a few Mobility & Activation Exercises to Try 

Warming up before a lifting session has been shown to improve performance. Partaking in a warm up increases muscle temperature and blood flow, and helps with mental cognition and readiness for the session.
Your warm up doesn’t have to be elaborate and can vary depending on your session.
Typically, you would want to get the blood flowing by doing a light aerobic activity such as jogging, incline walking, biking, rowing or skipping for around 5-10 minutes.
Afterwards, you would want to move into some mobilization drills. This can depend on the session. For example, if you are heading into a push-pull workout, you would want to focus more attention to your upper body. Of course, you can (and should) do a few lower body drills, however the focus is placed on upper body.
After mobility, I recommend moving to activation drills. Mobility helps to get the working joints moving and ready to go, whereas activation is starting to recruit muscle fibers. 


   Shoulder dislocations
   T spine rotations
   Melting heart
   Wall angels
   Deep squats
   90 90s
   Hamstring sweeps
   Figure fours
   Frankenstein kicks
   Cossack squats 

   Bear crawls
   Scap push/ snap pulls
   Banded pull aparts
   Banded side steps
   Banded duck walks/ monster walks
   Bridges BW
   Hip hinges BW


Consuming two different carb sources (ie: glucose and fructose) can increase total carbohydrate oxidation rates during prolonged bouts of moderate to high intensity exercise. Consequently, this can improve endurance exercise performance. Furthermore, co-ingestion of glucose and fructose can accelerate post exercise liver glycogen repletion, which can be helpful when a <24 hour recovery period is required.

Reference: PMID: 31166604