Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pre workout eating

Depending when you usually do your workout, some time may have passed since you last ate, and if you work out in the morning, it could be around 10 hours or so ago. That said, the need to eat before a workout is extremely individual, and what to actually eat is just as personal.

From the top I would initially recommend not eating before a morning work out. This is a natural status and actually promotes heightened senses and work capacity (so you can catch that meal!). Not eating in the morning and working out means your insulin levels are going to be at their lowest, and fat release for energy will be in full swing. This will also enhance the Growth Hormone (GH) effect of the workout. Being able to do this however will depend on your daily diet ie, low carb, high fat, paleo?? Give it a try one morning and see how you go, you may need to add a bit of extra fat to your meal the night before to keep you going.

If you cant possibly train properly without having something to eat (and you have tried to do so) then there's a few things you can try. Firstly have a bit of fat to give you some calories in the stomach. This can be nuts, nut butter, avocado, coconut. This will keep insulin down and keep the body relying on fat for energy. A bit of protein in the mix may help, but just watch the insulin reaction from the protein (around 5-15gm and no dairy). This can be from an egg, left over meats, or protein powder if need be.

Lastly for harder sessions or competitions, or if you have tried everything else, throw in some carbs. This should be basic, easy to digest stuff such as fruit, mashed sweet potato, or pre-cooked left overs. Again keep the amount low, up to a whole apple or half a large banana. Promoting digestion and raising insulin increases stimulation from the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS- 'rest & digest') and reduces the body's ability to perform physically.

As I said at the start, this is very individual and you will simply have to make small changes and see what works for you. Follow a snack idea for a week, seeing how it affects your performance through out that time with the different WOD's that come up. If you felt worse than before, go back and try something else. Make sure you have finished eating around 30 min before your workout to at least give you body a chance to digest the simple items you had. Even just having a small handful of nuts 5 min before the workout may affect you as the whole sensation of eating (look, feel, taste, chewing etc…) will stimulate the PNS, digestion and insulin.


I like the idea of doing a nutrition talk some time in January. Thinking of covering the basics of paleo/low carb and why, to give all BSF, CFNQ, Spartan, & any other interested parties a heads up on what they can do to improve health and performance while training. Will be a good place to introduce Primal Plate to the world! What do you think?


Brett_M/30/181cm/84kg said...

Great idea mate, between, BSF,CFNQ,Spartan and Fit Solutions I reckon we could fill a small room easily.

Scotty.A said...

I think I'm disapointed I won't be in Townsville for this!!

I'd also be disapointed if you guys didn't fill a small room!!

Awesome chance for all you Townsville people to jump on board for this one!!

Take notes for me Brett :)

robin said...

Thanks Steve, great info, as always. I think I'm pretty well on the right track with the morning pre-wod snacks. I could try a bit more fat and less or no protein at all or eating more the night before and nothing or almost nothing in the morning to see if that improves my workout performance. Otherwise what I'm doing seems ok.

One other thing, I seem to want/crave for more carbs (those bad ones like fresh brumbys bread or pasta!) about every 7 to 10 days and was wondering why? I remember reading in one of Robb Wolf's posts that the body (when one has been working or competing at high intensity for longer duration, say more than 5 days straight)does in fact need extra carbs at times. So what carbs do we feed ourselves to satisfy these "cravings" or are they just old habits best ignored?

As for your Nutrition Seminar, I can't think of a better way to start 2010 off with a big bang, all about food. The good stuff, that is! After all, isn't nutrition at the bottom of the pyramid? Something I have always wanted to know more about and have the Zone/Paleo thing explained in real simple terms.

MickB said...

Sounds great Steve. Nutrition something that I have trouble getting my head around at times. In particular, why is milk/dairy frowned upon by the paleo crowd?

glen_mcfarlane said...

Book me in.

Steve_M/26/171cm/72kg said...

Hey Mick, just a quick comment on this one, i'm getting on a plane in a few hours!
Theres a number of reasons to exclude dairy from the diet, the notion that that its an indispensible part of the diet is crap, paleo man wasnt milking wild animals. Theres plenty of other sources of calcium (veges, bones..)

Dairy contains a lot of hormones that have long term effects such as Bovine insulin, Estrogen compounds and Epidermal growth factor. These all cause seperate issues in the body.
Casein (milk protein) and lactose (milk sugar) cause a reaction in the majority of the population, even if not directly noticeable at the time.
Causes inflammation in the gut, with similar effects to a cealiac eating gluten.
Dairy protein causes an excessive insulin spike (even though its "low GI")
Things like pure cream and butter are generally ok to eat with minial amounts of the above compounds. There also a good easy source of fat.

On the flip side it does have great growth promoting effects if you are trying to get massive but recommended only for the short term as long term effects on overall health build up.

Hope that helps, i can elaborate when i get back in 2 weeks. meanwhile look up '' they have heaps of articles on why to cut away dairy. In saying that a lot of paleo-ers still have some dairy in limited amounts depending on personal tolerance.

MickB said...

Thanks Steve, I’ve been following the starting strength program for about 6 weeks now, one of the recommendations from the book is to drink a gallon of milk a day (GOMAD). I do really enjoy milk and I’m putting on weight, not all of it muscle though. I’ll stick withit for a while yet then ween myself when I get to the strength levels that I desire.