What you eat before a workout is crucial to help with your exercise performance as well as help with your overall recovery in combination with your post-workout meal. The important thing to remember is that each macronutrient has a specific role in metabolism and body functioning before a workout. It is important to not think of one macronutrient as better than another. Each serves a purpose in helping prepare the body for exercise. The amount and kind of food you eat prior to working out depends on the type, duration, and intensity of the workout, as well as how the time from the start of the workout you consume the food.

Understanding how food can help your exercise performance is crucial. Good nutrition can help your body perform better and recover faster after each workout. Optimal nutrient intake prior to exercise will not only help you maximize your performance but also minimize muscle damage. Making sure to fuel your body with the right nutrients prior to exercise will give you the energy and strength you need to perform better. Not eating properly before a workout can actually negatively impact your results.

So…What the heck do you eat?

It is best to eat a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fats before a workout. Your muscles use the glucose from the carbohydrates for fuel during your workout, especially for short and high-intensity exercise. Carbohydrates increase glycogen stores and utilization while boosting carbohydrate oxidation during exercise. Along with carbohydrates, eating protein prior to exercise can help increase muscle protein synthesis. While glycogen gives short term energy, fat is a good source of energy for longer and moderate to low intensity exercise. Focusing on the type of exercise, if it is more short term high-intensity exercise, you will want to focus more on carbohydrate and less fat and protein. And on the other hand, if it is more long term, low to moderate-intensity exercise, you will want to still consume carbohydrates for immediate energy reserves but also conserve fats to help with long term energy.

When you eat is just as important as what you eat. To maximize training results it is best to eat a full meal of mixed macronutrients about 2 hours prior to workout. If that is not possible it is still important to eat a pre-workout meal but keep in mind that the sooner you eat before a workout, the smaller and simpler the meal should be. If you eat 45-60 minutes prior to a workout, choose foods that are simple to digest and contain mostly carbohydrates and protein and not as much fat. High-fat foods take longer to digest and can cause gastrointestinal pain and other symptoms that will make training uncomfortable and inhibit performance.

Hiring a certified Personal Trainer may be the best investment you make to achieve a fit, healthy, new you. Contact Jacey Gengenbach, one of the top three finalists for the 2015 trainer of the year award, at Fitness & Beyond in Omaha today. Call her at 402-502-2729 or visit the company’s website: www.fitnessandbeyondomaha.com. Follow Fitness & Beyond on Twitter, or find it on Facebook at Fitness & Beyond, LLC.